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Author  of 
Songs  at  the  Start 
Goose-Quill  Papers 
The  White  Sail 

Fifty  Illustrations  by  Edmund  H  Garrett 



Copyright,  1888, 


D.    LoTHROP   Company. 











DEAR    liROWNIE 63 









PUCK;   AND   poets'   FAIRIES I23 





THE  PASSING   OF  THE   LITTLE   PEOPLE       .  .  .  1 59 


The  little  river-neck  of  Sweden 
"  God  speed  you,  gentlemen  !  " 

The  Neapolitan  fairy 

The  elf-monarch  who  was  made  court-fool 

The  Isle  of   Riigen   Dwarfs  that  give  presents 


The  Dwarf  that  borrowed  the  silk  gown 

The  Black  Dwarfs  of  Riigen  planning  mischief 

The  Troll's  children 

A  Coblynau 

"  I  can't  stay  any  longer !  " 

An  elle-maid  of  Denmark 

Bertha,  the  White  Lady 

Some  Greek  fairies  . 

An  elf-traveller 

Brownie's  delight  was  to  do  domestic  service 

Brownie  relishes  his  bowl  of  cream 

All  that  Puck  demanded 

"  Wag-at-the-wa' "     .        . 

An  Irish  Cluricaune 

Japanese  children  and  Brownies 

A  little  Fir-Darrig     . 













The  persistent  Xobold  of  Kopenick 


The  old  Nix  near  Ghent 

The  work  of  the  Nickel 

Hob  in  Hobhole 

The  Irish  Pooka  was  a  horse  too 

Will  o'-the-Wisp 

Pisky  also  chased  the  farmers'  cows 

Red  Comb  was  a  tyrant    . 

The  Welsh  Puck      . 

A  merry  night-wanderer 

"  By  the  moon  we  sport  and  play  " 

The  elves  whose  little  eyes  glow 

There  was  an  Irish  changling    . 

"  The  acorn  before  the  oak  have  I  seen  " 

She  heard  a  faint  voice  singing  under  a  leaf 

"  Ainsel "  . 

Gitto  Bach  and  the  fairies 

Kaguyahime,  the  moon-maid 

The  little  hunchback 

Taknakaux  Kan 

"  Al  was  this  loud  fulfilled  of  faeries  " 

Fairy  stories 

The  capture  of  Skillywidden 

Good-bye  .... 











A  FAIRY  is  a  humorous  person  sadly  out  of 
fashion  at  present,  who  has  had,  neverthe- 
less, in  the  actors'  phrase,  a  long  and  prosperous 
run  on  this  planet.  When  we  speak  of  fairies 
nowadays,  we  think  only  of  small  sprites  who 
live  in  a  kingdom  of  their  own,  with  manners,  laws, 
and  privileges  very  different  from  ours.  But  there 
was  a  time  when  "  fairy  "  suggested  also  the  knights 
and  ladies  of  romance,  about  whom  fine  spirited 
tales  were  told  when  the  world  was  younger. 
Spenser's  Faery  Queen,  for  instance,  deals  with 
dream-people,  beautiful  and  brave,  as  do  the  old 
stories  of  Arthur  and  Roland  ;   people  who  either 

I J  "brownies  and  bogles." 

never  lived,  or  who,  having  lived,  were  glorified 
and  magnified  by  tradition  out  of  all  kinship  with 
common  men.  Our  fairies  are  fairies  in  the  mod- 
ern sense.  We  will  make  it  a  rule,  from  the  be- 
ginning, that  they  must  be  small,  and  we  will  put 
out  any  who  are  above  the  regulation  height. 
Such  as  the  charming  famous  Melusina,  who 
wails  upon  her  tower  at  the  death  of  a  Lusignan, 
we  may  as  well  skip;  for  she  is  a  tall  young 
lady,  with  a  serpent's  tail,  to  boot,  and  thus, 
alas!  half-monster;  for  if  we  should  accept  any 
like  her  in  our  plan,  there  is  no  reason  why  we 
should  not  get  confused  among  mermaids  and 
dryads,  and  perhaps  end  by  scoring  down  great 
Juno  herself  as  a  fairy  !  Many  a  dwarf  and  gob- 
lin, whom  we  shall  meet  anon,  is  as  big  as-  a 
child.  Again,  there  are  rumors  in  nearly  every 
country  of  finding  hundreds  of  them  on  a  square 
inch  of  oak-leaf,  or  beneath  the  thin  shadow  of  a 
blade  of  grass.  The  fairies  of  popular  belief  are 
little  and  somewhat  shrivelled,  and  quite  as  apt  to 
be  malignant  as  to  be  frolicsome  and  gentle.  We 
shall  find   that   they  were    divided   into   several 

WHAT    FAIRIES   WERE   AND   WHAT   THEV    DID.       13 

classes  and  families ;  but  there  is  much  analogy 
and  vagueness  among  these  divisions.  By  and  by 
you  may  care  to  study  them  for  yourselves  ;  at 
present,  we  shall  be  very  high-handed  with  the 
science  of  folk-lore,  and  pay  no  attention  whatever 
to  learned  gentlemen,  who  quarrel  so  foolishly 
about  these  things  that  it  is  not  helpful,  nor  even 
funny,  to  listen  to  them.  A  widely-spread  notion 
is  that  when  our  crusading  forefathers  went  to 
the  Holy  Land,  they  heard  the  Paynim  soldiers, 
whom  they  fought,  speaking  much  of  the  Peri,  the 
loveliest  beings  imaginable,  who  dwelt  in  the  East. 
Now,  the  Arabian  language,  which  these  swarthy 
warriors  used,  has  no  letter  P,  and  therefore  they 
called  their  spirits  Feri,  as  did  the  Crusaders  after 
them ;  and  the  word  went  back  with  them  to  Eu- 
rope, and  slipped  into  general  use. 

"Elf"  and  "goblin,"  too,  are  interesting  to 
trace.  There  was  a  great  Italian  feud,  in  the 
twelfth  century,  between  the  German  Emperor  and 
the  Pope,  whose  separate  partisans  were  known  as 
the  Guelfs  and  the  Ghibellines.  As  time  went  on, 
and  the  memory  of  that  long  strife  was  still  fresh, 

14  "brownies  and  bogles. 

a  descendant  of  the  Guelfs  would  put  upon  any- 
body he  disliked  the  odious  name  of  Ghibelline ; 
and  the  latter,  generation  after  generation,  would 
return  the  compliment  ardently,  in  his  own  fashion. 
Both  terms,  finally,  came  to  be  mere  catch-words 
for  abuse  and  reproach.  And  the  fairies,  falling 
into  disfavor  with  some  bold  mortals,  were  angrily 
nicknamed  "  elf  "  and  "  goblin  "  ;  in  which  shape 
you  will  recognize  the  last  threadbare  reminder  of 
the  once  bitter  and  historic  faction  of  Guelf  and 

It  is  likely  that  the  tribe  were  designated  as  fair- 
ies because  they  were,  for  the  most  part,  fair  to 
see,  and  full  of  grace  and  charm,  especially  among 
the  Celtic  branches  ;  and  people,  at  all  times,  had 
too  much  desire  to  keep  their  good-will,  and  too 
much  shrinking  from  their  rancor  and  spite,  to 
give  them  any  but  the  most  flattering  titles.  They 
were  seldom  addressed  otherwise  than  "  the  little 
folk,"  "the  kind  folk,"  "the  gentr)%"  "the  fair 
family,"  "the  blessings  of  their  mothers,"  and  "the 
dear  wives " ;  just  as,  thousands  of  years  back, 
the  noblest  and  cleverest  nation  the  world  has  ever 

WHAT   FAIRIES   WERE   AND    WHAT   THEY    DID.       15 

seen,  called  the  dreaded  Three  "  Eumenides,"  the 
gracious  ones.  It  is  a  sure  and  fast  maxim  that 
wheedling  human  nature  puts  on  its  best  manners 
when  it  is  afraid.  In  Goldsmith's  racy  play,  She 
Stoops  to  Conquer,  old  Mistress  Hardcastle  meets 
what  she  takes  to  be  a  robber.  She  hates  robbers, 
of  course,  and  is  scared  half  out  of  her  five  wits ; 
but  she  implores  mercy  with  a  cowering  politeness 
at  which  nobody  can  choose  but  laugh,  of  her  "good 
Mr.  Highwayman,"  Now,  fairies,  who  knew  how  to 
be  bountiful  and  tender,  and  who  made  slaves  of 
themselves  to  serve  men  and  women,  as  we  shall 
see,  were  easily  offended,  and  wrought  great  mis- 
chief and  revenge  if  they  were  not  treated  hand- 
somely ;  all  of  which  kept  people  in  the  habit  of 
courtesy  toward  them.  A  whirlwind  of  dust  is  a 
very  annoying  thing,  and  makes  one  splutter,  and 
feel  absurdly  resentful ;  but  in  Ireland,  exactly  as 
in  modern  Greece,  the  peasantry  thought  that  it 
betokened  the  presence  of  fairies  going  a  journey ; 
so  they  lifted  their  hats  gallantly,  and  said  :  "  God 
speed  you,  gentlemen  !  " 

Fairies  had  their  followers  and  votaries  from 



early  times.  Nothing  in  the  Bible  hints  that  they 
were  known  among  the  heathens  with  whom  the 
Israelites  warred ;  nothing  in  classic  mythology 
has  any  approach  to  them,  except  the  beautiful 

"god  speed  you,  gentlemen!" 

wood  and  water-nymphs.  Yet  poet  Homer,  Pliny 
the  scientist,  and  Aristotle  the  philosopher,  had 
some  notion  of  them,  and  of  their  influence.  In  old 
China,  whole  mountains  were  peopled  with  them, 
and  the   coriander-seeds  grown  in  their  gardens 

WHAT    FAIRIES    WERE   AND    WHAT   THEY   DID.       1 7 

gave  long  life  to  those  who  ate  of  them.  The 
Persians  had  a  hierarchy  of  elves,  and  were  the 
first  to  set  aside  Fairyland  as  their  dwelling-place. 
Saxons,  in  their  wild  forests,  believed  in  tiny 
dwarves  or  demons  called  Duergar.  Celtic  coun- 
tries, Scotland,  Brittany,  Ireland,  Wales,  were 
always  crowded  with  them.  In  the  "  uttermost 
mountains  of  India,  under  a  merry  part  of  heaven," 
or  by  the  hoary  Nile,  according  to  other  writers, 
were  the  Pigmeos,  one  cubit  high,  full-grown  at 
three  years,  and  old  at  seven,  who  fought  with 
cranes  for  a  livelihood.  And  the  Swiss  alchemist, 
Paracelsus  (a  most  pompous  and  amusing  old  big- 
wig), wrote  that  in  his  day  all  Germany  was  filled 
with  fairies  two  feet  long,  walking  about  in  little 
coats ! 

Their  favorite  color,  noticeably  in  Great  Britain, 
was  green  ;  the  majority  of  them  wore  it,  and 
grudged  its  adoption  by  a  mortal.  Sir  Walter 
Scott  tells  us  that  it  was  a  fatal  hue  to  several 
families  in  his  country,  to  the  entire  gallant  race 
of  Grahames  in  particular ;  for  in  battle  a  Gra- 
hame  was  almost  always  shot  through  the  green 

i8  "brownies  and  bogles." 

check  of  his  plaid.  French  fairies  went  in  white; 
the  Nis  of  Jutland,  and  many  other  house-sprites, 
in  red  and  gray,  or  red  and  brown  ;  and  the  plump 
Welsh  goblins,  whose  holiday  dress  was  also  white, 
in  the  gayest  and  most  varied  tints  of  all.  In 
North  Wales  were  "  the  old  elves  of  the  blue  petti- 
coat"; in  Cardiganshire  was  the  familiar  green 
again,  though  it  was  never  seen  save  in  the  month 
of  May  ;  and  in  Pembrokeshire,  a  uniform  of  jolly 
scarlet  gowns  and  caps.  The  fairy  gentlemen 
were  quite  as  much  given  to  finery  as  the  ladies, 
and  their  general  air  was  one  of  extreme  cheer- 
ful dandyism.  Only  the  mine  and  ground-fairies 
were  attired  in  sombre  colors.  Indeed,  their  idea 
of  clothes  was  delightfully  liberal ;  an  elf  bespoke 
himself  by  what  he  chose  to  wear;  and  fashions 
ranged  all  the  way  from  the  sprites  of  the  Orkney 
Islands,  who  strutted  about  in  armor,  to  the  little 
Heinzelmanchen  of  Cologne,  who  scorned  to  be 
burdened  with  so  much  as  a  hat ! 

People  accounted  in  strange  ways  for  their 
origin.  A  legend,  firmly  held  in  Iceland,  says  that 
once  upon  a  time  Eve  was  washmg  a  number  of 

WHAT    FAIRIES    WERE   AND    WHAT   THEY    DID,       I9 

her  children  at  a  spring,  and  when  the  Lord  ap- 
peared suddenly  before  her,  she  hustled  and  hid 
away  those  who  were  not  already  clean  and  pre- 
sentable ;  and  that  they  being  made  forever  in- 
visible after,  became  the  ancestors  of  the  "little 
folk,"  who  pervade  the  hills  and  caves  and  ruins 
to  this  day.  In  Ireland  and  Scotland  fairies  were 
spoken  of  as  a  wandering  remnant  of  the  fallen 
angels.  The  Christian  world  over,  they  were 
deemed  either  for  a  while,  or  perpetually,  to  be 
locked  out  from  the  happiness  of  the  blessed  in 
the  next  world.  The  Bretons  thought  their  Kor- 
rigans  had  been  great  Gallic  princesses,  who  re- 
fused the  new  faith,  and  clung  to  their  pagan  gods, 
and  fell  under  a  curse  because  of  their  stubborn- 
ness. The  Small  People  of  Cornwall,  too,  were 
imagined  to  be  the  ancient  inhabitants  of  that 
country,  long  before  Christ  was  born,  not  good 
enough  for  Heaven,  and  yet  too  good  to  be  con- 
demned altogether,  whose  fate  it  is  to  stray  about, 
growing  smaller  and  smaller,  until  by  and  by  they 
vanish  from  the  face  of  the  earth. 

Therefore  the  poor   fairy-folk,  with  whom  the- 

20  "brownies  and  bogles." 

ology  deals  so  rudely,  were  supposed  to  be  tired 
waiting,  and  anxious  to  know  how  they  might  fare 
everlastingly  •,  and  they  waylaid  many  mortals, 
who,  of  course,  really  could  tell  them  nothing,  to 
ask  whether  they  might  not  get  into  Heaven,  by 
chance,  at  the  end.  It  was  their  chief  cause  of 
doubt  and  melancholy,  and  ran  in  their  little 
minds  from  year  to  year.  And  since  we  shall  re- 
vert no  more  to  the  sad  side  of  fairy-life,  let  us 
close  with  a  most  sweet  story  of  something  which 
happened  in  Sweden,  centuries  ago. 

Two  boys  were  gambolling  by  a  river,  when  a 
Neck  rose  up  to  the  air,  smiling,  and  twanging 
his  harp.  The  elder  child  watched  him,  and  cried 
mockingly  :  "  Neck  !  what  is  the  good  of  your  sit- 
ting there  and  playing .''  You  will  never  be  saved !  " 
And  the  Neck's  sensitive  eyes  filled  with  tears, 
and,  dropping  his  harp,  he  sank  forlornly  to  the 
bottom.  But  when  the  brothers  had  gone  home, 
and  told  their  wise  and  saintly  father,  he  said  they 
had  been  thoughtlessly  unkind  ;  and  he  bade  them 
hurry  back  to  the  river,  and  comfort  the  little  water- 
spirit.     From  afar  off  they  saw  him  again  on  the 

WHAT   FAIRIES    WERE   AND   WHAT   THEY   DID,       21 

surface,  weeping  bitterly.  And  they  called  to  him  : 
"  Dear  Neck  !  do  not  grieve  ;  for  our  father  says 
that  your  Redeemer  liveth  also."  Then  he  threw 
back  his  bright  head,  and,  taking  his  harp,  sang 
and  played  with  exceeding  gladness  until  sunset 
was  long  past,  and  the  first  star  sent  down  its 
benediction  from  the  sky. 



THE  forming  of  character  among  the  fairy- 
folk  was  a  very  simple  and  sensible  matter. 
You  will  imagine  that  the  Pagan,  Druid  and  Chris- 
tian elves  varied  greatly.  And  they  did;  still 
their  morals  had  nothing  to  do  with  it,  nor  pride, 
nor  patriotism,  nor  descent,  nor  education ;  nor 
would  all  the  philosophy  you  might  crowd  into  a 
thimble  have  made  one  bee-big  resident  of  Japan 
different  from  a  man  of  his  own  size  in  Spain. 

They  saved  themselves  no  end  of  trouble  by 
setting  up  the  local  barometer  as  their  standard. 
The  only  Bible  they  knew  was  the  weather,  and 
they  followed  it  stoutly.  Whatever  the  climate 
was,  whatever  it  had  helped  to  make  the  grown-up 
nation  who  lived  under  it,  that,  every  time,  were 
the  "  brownies  and  bogles."     Where  the  land  was 



rocky  and  grim,  and  subject  to  wild  storms  and 
sudden  darknesses,  the  fairies  were  grim  and  wild 
too,  and  full  of  wicked  tricks.  Where  the  land- 
scape was  level  and  green,  and  the  crops  grew 
peacefully,  they  were  tame,  as  in  central  England, 
and  inclined  to  be  sentimental. 

And  they  copied  the  distinguishing  traits  of  the 
race  among  whom  they  dwelt.  A  frugal  Breton 
fairy  spoke  the  Breton  dialect ;  the  Neapolitan 
had  a  tooth  for  fruits  and  macaroni ;  the  Chinese 
was  ceremonious  and  stern ;  a  true  Provengal 
fee  was  as  vain  as  a  peacock,  flirting  a  mirror  be- 
fore her,  and  an  Irish  elf,  bless  his  little  red 
feathered  caubeen !  was  never  the  man  to  run 
away  from  a  fight. 

If  you  look  on  the  map,  and  see  a  section  of 
coast-line  like  that  of  Cornwall  or  Norway,  a  sun- 
shiny, perilous,  foamy  place,  make  up  your  mind 
that  the  fairies  thereabouts  were  fellows  worth 
knowing ;  that  you  would  have  needed  all  your  wit 
and  pluck  to  get  the  better  of  them,  and  that  they 
would  have  made  live,  hearty  playmates,  too,  while 
in  good  humor,  for  any  brave  boy  or  girl. 


We  do  not  know  nearly  so  much  about  the  gen- 
uine fairies  as  we  should  like.  They  must  have 
been,  at  one  time  or  another,  in  every  European 
countr)'.  Most  of  the  Oriental  spirits  were  taller, 
and  of  another  brood ;  they  figured  either  as  de- 
mons, or  as  what  we  should  now  call  angels.  But 
in  the  Germanic  colonies,  from  very  old  days, 
fairy-lore  was  finely  developed,  and  we  count  up 
tribe  on  tribe  of  necks,  nixies,  stromkarls  and  mer- 
maids, who  were  water-sprites  ;  of  bergmannchen 
(little  men  of  the  mountain),  and  lovely  wild-women 
in  hilly  places ;  of  trolls  around  the  woods  and 
rocks;  of  elves  in  the  air,  and  gnomes  or  duer- 
gars  in  caverns  or  mines.  Yet  from  Portugal,  and 
Russia,  and  Hungary,  and  from  our  own  North 
American  Indians,  we  learn  so  little  that  it  is 
not  worth  counting. 

If  the  good  dear  peasants  who  were  acquainted 
with  the  fairies  had  made  more  rhymes  about  them, 
and  handed  them  down  more  attentively ;  if  it  had 
occurred  to  the  knowing  scholar-monks  to  keep 
diaries  of  elfin  doings,  as  it  would  have  done  had 
they  but  known  how  soon  their  little  friends  were 



to  be  extinct,  like  the  glyptodon   and  the  dodo, 
how  wise  should  we  not  be  !  ^ 

But  again,  though  there  were  hosts  of  supernat- 


ural  beings  in  the  beliefs  of  every  old  land,  we 
have  no  business  with  any  but  the  wee  ones. 
And  as  these  were  settled  most  thickly  in  the 
Teutonic,  Celtic  and   Cymric   countries,  we  will 

26  "brownies  and  bogles." 

turn  our  curiosity  thither,  without  farther  grum- 
bling, and  be  glad  to  get  so  much  authentic  news 
of  them  as  we  may. 

Fairies,  as  a  whole,  seem  at  bottom  rather  weak 
and  disconsolate.  For  all  of  their  magic  and  cun- 
ning, for  all  of  their  high  station,  and.  its  feasting 
and  glory,  they  could  not  keep  from  seeking  human 
sympathy.  They  did,  indeed,  hurt  men,  resent  in- 
trusions, foretell  the  future,  and  call  down  disease 
and  storm,  but  they  stood  in  awe  of  the  weakest 
mortal  because  of  his  superior  strength  and  size ; 
they  came  to  him  to  borrow  food  and  medicine,  and 
even  to  ask  the  loan  of  his  house  for  their  revels. 
They  rendered  themselves  invisible,  but  he  had 
always  at  his  feet  the  fern-seed,  the  talisman  of 
four-leaved  clover  (or,  as  in  Scotland,  the  leaf  of 
the  ash  or  rowan-tree),  with  v.'hich  he  could  defeat 
their  design,  and  protect  himself  against  the  attacks 
of  any  witch,  imp,  or  fairy  whatsoever. 

Their  government  was  a  happ3^-go-lucky  affair. 
The  various  tribes  of  fairies  had  no  common  inter- 
ests which  would  make  them  sigh  for  post-offices, 
or  cables,  or  general  synods.     Each  set  of  them 


got  along,  independent  of  the  rest.  Once  in  a 
while  a  mine-man  would  live  alone  with  his  wife, 
pegging  away  at  his  daily  work,  without  any  idea 
of  hurrahing  for  his  King  or,  more  likely,  his 
Queen  ;  or  even  of  hunting  up  his  own  cousins  in 
the  next  county. 

If  we  had  elves  in  the  United  States  nowadays, 
they  would  no  doubt  be  American  enough  to  elect 
a  President  and  have  him  as  honest,  and  steady, 
and  sound-hearted  as  needs  be.  But  dwelling  as 
they  did  in  feudal  days,  they  set  up  thrones  and 
sceptres  all  over  Fairydom. 

According  to  the  poets,  Mab  and  Oberon  are 
the  crowned  rulers  of  the  little  people.  In  reality, 
they  had  no  supreme  head.  Among  many  parties 
and  factions,  each  small  agreeing  community  had 
its  own  chief,  the  tallest  of  his  race,  who  was  no 
chief  at  all,  mind  you,  to  the  airy  neighbors  a  mile 
east.  The  delicate  yellow  Chinese  fairy-mother 
was  Si  Wang  Mu;  and  in  the  Netherlands,  the 
elf-queen,  who  was  also  queen  of  the  witches,  was 
called  Wanne  Thekla. 

We  snatch  an  item  here  and  there  of  the  royal 


histories.  We  find  that  the  sweet-natured  Elberich 
in  the  Niebelungen  is  the  same  as  Oberon.  In 
Germany  was  a  dwarf-king  named  Goldemar,  who 
lived  with  a  knight,  shared  his  bed,  played  at  dice 
with  him,  gave  him  good  advice,  called  him  Broth- 
er-in-law very  fondly,  and  comforted  him  with  the 
music  of  his  harp.  But  Goldemar,  though  the 
knight  loved  him  and  could  touch  and  feel  him, 
was  unseen.  He  was  like  a  wreath  of  blue  smoke, 
or  a  fragment  of  moonlight,  and  you  could  run  a 
sword  through  him,  and  never  change  his  kind 
smile.  His  royal  hands  were  lean,  and  soft,  and 
cold  as  a  frog's.  After  three  years,  perhaps  when 
Brother-in-law  was  dead,  or  when  he  was  married, 
and  needed  him  no  longer,  the  gentle  dwarf-king 

Sinnels,  Giibich,  and  Heiling  were  other  dwarf- 
princes,  probably  rivals  of  Goldemar,  and  ready 
to  have  at  him  till  their  breath  gave  out.  Their 
little  majesties  were  quarrelsome  as  cock-sparrows. 
The  elf-monarch  Laurin  was  once  conquered  by 
Theodoric ;  and  because  he  had  been  treacherous 
in  war  (which  was  not  "fair"  at  all,  despite  the 



proverb),  he  got  a  very  sad  rebuff  to  his  dignity, 
in  being  made  fool  or  buffoon  at  the  court  of 

We  are  told  in 
the  Mabinogion 
how  the  daugh- 
ter of  Llud  Llaw 
Ereint  was  "  the 
most  splendid 
maiden  in  the 
three  islands  of 
the  mighty,"  and 
a  p  N  u  d  d,  the 
Welsh  fairy-king, 
battles  every 
M  a  y  -  d  a  y  from 
dawn  until  sunset.  Gwyn  once  carried  her  off 
from  Gwythyr,  her  true  lord ;  and  both  lovers 
were  so  furious  and  cruel  against  each  other  that 
blessed  King  Arthur  condemned  them  to  wage 
bitter  fight  on  each  first-of-May  till  the  world's 
end ;   and  to  whomsoever  is  victorious  the  great- 


30  "brownies  and  bogles. 

est  number  of  times,  the  fair  lady  shall  then  be 
given.  Let  us  hope  the  reward  will  not  fall  to 
thieving  Gwyn. 

We  have  said  that  we  should  do  pretty  much  as 
we  pleased  in  ranging  the  myriad  fairy-folk  into 
ranks  and  species.  If,  as  we  prowl  about,  we  see 
a  baby  in  the  house  of  the  Elfsmiths,  who  has  a 
look  of  the  Elfbrowns,  we  will  immediately  kidnap 
him  from  his  fond  parents,  and  add  him  to  the 
family  he  resembles.  Now  that  might  make  wail- 
ing and  confusion,  and  bring  down  vengeance  on 
our  heads,  if  there  were  any  Queen  Mab  left  to 
rap  us  to  order ;  but  as  things  go,  we  shall  find  it 
a  very  neat  way  of  smoothing  difficulties. 

Of  course  there  are  certain  pigwidgeons  too  ac- 
complished, too  slippery,  too  many  things  in  one, 
to  be  ticketed  and  tied  down  like  the  rest ;  such 
versatile  fellows  as  the  Brown  Dwarves  of  the  Isle 
of  Riigen,  for  instance.  They  lived  in  what  were 
called  the  Vine-hills,  and  were  not  quite  eighteen 
inches  high.  They  wore  little  snuff-brown  jackets 
and  a  brown  cap  (which  made  them  invisible, 
and  allowed  them  to  pass  through  the  smallest  key- 



hole),  with  one  wee  silver  bell  at  its  peak,  not  to 
be  lost  for  any  mone}-.  But  they  did  some  roguish 
things;  and  children  who  fell  into  their  hands 
had  to  serve  them  for  fifty  years !     With  caprice 


usual  to  their  kin,  they  will,  on  other  occasions, 
befriend  and -protect  children,  and  give  them  pres- 
ents ;  or  plague  untidy  servants,  like  Brownie,  or 
lead    travellers   astray   by   night    into   bogs   and 

32  "brownies  and  bogles." 

marshes,  like  the  Ellydan  and  the  Fir-Darrig,  and 
mischievous  double-faced  Robin  Goodfellow  him- 

An  ancient  tradition  says  that  while  the  grass- 
blades  are  sprouting  at  the  root,  the  earth-elves 
water  and  nourish  them;  and  the  moment  the 
growth  pierces  the  soil,  affectionate  air-elves  take 
it  in  charge.  Therefore  we  borrow  a  hint  from 
the  grass ;  and  after  first  going  down  among  the 
swarthy  fairies  who  burrow  underground,  we  shall 
pass  up  to  companionship  with  little  beings  so 
beautiful  that  wherever  they  flock  there  is  star- 
light and  song. 



ACCORDING  to  the  very  old  Scandinavian 
notion,  land-fairies  were  of  two  sorts;  the 
Light  or  Good  Elves  who  dwelt  in  air,  or  out-of- 
doors  on  the  earth,  and  the  Black  or  Evil  Elves 
who  dwelt  beneath  it. 

We  will  follow  the  Norse  folk.  If  we  were  re- 
quired to  group  human  beings  under  two  headings, 
we  should  choose  that  same  Good  and  Evil,  be- 
cause the  division  occurs  to  one  naturally,  because 
it  saves  time,  and  because  everybody  comprehends 
it,  and  sees  that  it  is  based  upon  law ;  and  so  do 
we  deal  with  our  wonder-friends,  who  have  the 
strange  moral  sorcery  belonging  to  each  of  us  their 
masters,  to  help  or  to  harm. 

The  evil  fairies,  then,  were  the  scowling  under- 
ground tribes,  who  hid  themselves  from  the  frank 

34  "brownies  and  bogles.** 

daylight,  and  the  open  reaches  of  the  fields.  Yet 
just  as  the  good  fairies  had  many  a  sad  failing 
to  offset  their  grace  and  charm,  the  grim,  dark- 
skinned  manikins  had  sudden  impulses  towards 
honor  and  kindness.  In  fact,  as  we  noted  before, 
they  were  astonishingly  like  our  fellow-creatures, 
of  whom  scarce  any  is  entirely  faultless,  or  en- 
tirely warped  and  ruined. 

For  instance,  the  Hill-men,  in  Switzerland,  were 
very  generous-minded ;  they  drove  home  stray 
lambs  at  night,  and  put  berry-bushes  in  the  way 
of  poor  children.  And  the  more  modern  Dwarves 
of  Germany,  frequenting  the  clefts  of  rocks,  were 
silent,  mild,  and  well-disposed,  and  apt  to  bring 
presents  to  those  who  took  their  fancy.  Like 
others  of  the  elf-kingdom,  they  loved  to  borrow 
from  mortals.  Once  a  little  bowing  Dwarf  came 
to  a  lady  for  the  loan  of  her  silk  gown  for  a  fairy- 
bride.  (You  can  imagine  that,  at  the  ceremony, 
the  groom  must  have  had  a  pretty  hunt  among  the 
wilderness  of  finery  to  get  at  her  ring-finger!) 
Of  course  the  lady  gave  it ;  but  worrying  over  its 
tardy  return,  she  went  to  the  Dwarves'  hill  and 



asked  for  it  aloud.  A  messenger  with  a  sorrowful 
countenance  brought  it  to  her  at  once,  spotted 
over  and  over  with  wax.     But  he   told  her  that 


had  she  been    less   impatient   every  stain  would 
have  been  a  diamond  ! 

The  huge,  terrible,  ogre-like  Hindoo  Rakshas, 
the  weird  Divs  and  Jinns  of    Persia,  and  the  an- 

^6  "brownies  and  bogles." 

cient  demon-dwarves  of  the  south  called  Panis, 
may  be  considered  the  foster-parents  of  our  dwin- 
dled minims,  as  the  glorious  Peris  on  the  other 
hand  gave  their  name,  and  some  of  their  qualities, 
to  a  little  European  family  of  very  different  an- 

The  Black  Elves  will  serve  as  our  general  name 
for  dwarves  and  mine-fairies.  These  are  closely 
connected  in  all  legends,  live  in  the  same  neigh- 
borhoods, and  therefore  claim  a  mention  together. 
They  have  four  points  in  common  :  dark  skin ; 
short,  bulky  bodies ;  fickle  and  irritable  natures ; 
and  '  occupations  as  miners,  misers,  or  metal- 
smiths.  And  because  of  their  exceeding  industry, 
on  the  old  maxim's  authority,  where  all  work  and 
no  play  made  Jack  a  dull  boy,  they  are  curiously 
heavy-headed  and  preposterous  jacks;  and,  waiv- 
ing their  plain  faces,  not  in  any  wise  engaging. 
Yet  perhaps,  being  largely  German,  they  may  be 
philosophers,  and  so  vastly  superior  to  any  little 
gabbling,  somersaulting  ragamuffin  over  in  Ireland. 

In  the  Middle  Ages,  they  were  described  as 
withered  and  leering,  with  small,  sharp,  snapping 

THE    BLACK    ELVES.  37 

black  eyes,  bright  as  gems ;  with  cracked  voices, 
and  matted  hair,  and  horns  peering  from  it !  and 
as  if  that  were  not  enough  adornment,  they  had 
claws,  which  must  have  been  filched  from  the 
ghosts  of  mediaeval  pussycats,  on  their  fingers 
and  toes. 

The  first  Duergars  belonging  to  the  Gotho-Ger- 
man  mythology,  were  muscular  and  strong-legged ; 
and  when  they  stood  erect,  their  arms  reached  to 
the  ground.  They  were  clever  and  expert  hand- 
lers of  metal,  and  made  of  gold,  silver  and  iron, 
the  finest  armor  in  the  world.  They  wrought  for 
Odin  his  great  spear,  and  for  Thor  his  hammer, 
and  for  Frey  the  wondrous  ship  Skidbladnir. 

Long  ago,  too,  armor-making  Elves,  black  as 
pitch,  lived  in  Svart-Alfheim,  in  the  bowels  of  the 
earth,  and  were  able,  by  their  glance  or  touch  or 
breath,  to  cause  sickness  and  death  wheresoever 
they  wished. 

Still  uglier  were  the  Black  Dwarves  of  the  mys- 
terious Isle  of  Riigen;  nor  had  they  any  frolic- 
some or  cordial  ways  which  should  bring  up  our 
opinion  of  them.     Their  pale  eyes  ran  water,  and 



every  midnight  they  mewed  and  screeched  hor- 
ribly from  their  holes.  In  idle  summer-hours  they 
sat  under  the  elder-trees,  planning  by  twos  and 
and  threes  to  wreak  mischief  on  mankind.  They, 
as  well,  were  once  useful,  if  not  beautiful ;  for  in 


the  days  when  heroes  wore  a  panoply  of  steel,  the 
Black  Dwarves  wrought  fair  helmets  and  corselets 
of  cobwebby  mail  which  no  lance  could  pierce, 
and  swords  flexible  as  silk  which  could  unhorse 
the  miglitiest  foe.  The  little  blackamoors  fre- 
quented mining  districts,  and  dug  for  ore  on  their 

THE    BLACK    ELVES.  39 

own  account.  They  were  said  to  be  very  rich, 
owning  unnumbered  chests  stored  underground. 
The  most  exciting  tales  about  gnomes  of  all  na- 
tions were  founded  on  the  efforts  of  daring  mor- 
tals to  get  possession  of  their  wealth. 

To  the  mining  division  belong  the  dwarf-Trolls 
of  Denmark  and  Sweden  (for  there  were  giant- 
Trolls  as  well),  and  the  whimsical  Spriggans  of 
Cornwall.  The  Trolls  burrowed  in  mounds  and 
hills,  and  were  called  also  Bjerg-folk  or  Hill-folk; 
they  lived  in  societies  or  families,  baking  and  brew- 
ing, marrying  and  visiting,  in  the  old  humdrum 
way.  They  made  fortunes,  and  hoarded  up  heaps 
of  money.  But  they  were  often  obliging  and  be- 
nevolent ;  it  gave  them  pleasure  to  bestow  gifts, 
to  lend  and  borrow,  and  sometimes,  alas !  to  steal. 
They  played  prettily  on  musical  instruments,  and 
were  very  jolly.  People  used  to  see  the  stumpy 
little  children  of  the  genteel  Troll  who  lived  at 
Kund  in  Jutland,  climbing  up  the  knoll  which 
was  the  roof  of  their  own  house,  and  rolling  down 
one  after  the  other  with  shouts  of  laughter.  The 
Trolls  were  famous  gymnasts,  and  very  plump  and 



round.     Our  word  "  droll  "  is  left  to  us  in  merry 
remembrance  of  them. 

They  were  tractable  creatures,  as  you  may  know 
from  the  tale  of  the  farmer,  who,  ploughing  an 

THE   troll's    children. 

angry  Troll's  land,  agreed,  for  the  sake  of  peace, 
to  go  halves  in  the  crops  sown  upon  it,  so  that 
one  year  the  Troll  should  have  what  grew  above 
ground,  and  the  next  year  what  grew  under.  But 
the  sly  farmer  planted  radishes  and  carrots,  and 

THE    BLACK    ELVES.  41 

the  Troll  took  the  tops;  and  the  following  season 
he  planted  corn ;  and  his  queer  partner  gathered 
up  the  roots  and  marched  off  in  triumph.  In- 
deed, it  was  so  easy  to  outwit  the  simple  Troll 
that  a  generous  farmer  would  never  have  pla3'ed 
the  game  out,  and  we  should  have  lost  our  little 
story.  It  was  mean  to  take  advantage  of  the  sweet 
fellow's  trustfulness.  There  was  an  English  school- 
master once,  a  man  wise,  firm,  and  kind,  and  of 
vast  influence,  of  whom  one  of  his  boys  said  to 
another  :  "  It's  a  shame  to  tell  a  lie  to  Arnold  ;  he 
always  believes  it."  That  was  a  ray  of  real  chiv- 

The  Spriggans  were  fond  of  dwelling  near  walls 
and  loose  stones,  with  which  it  was  unlucky  to 
tamper,  and  where  they  slipped  in  and  out  with 
suspicious  eyes,  guarding  their  buried  treasure. 
If  a  house  was  robbed,  or  the  cattle  were  carried 
away,  or  a  hurricane  swooped  down  on  a  Cornish 
village,  the  neighbors  attributed  their  trouble  to 
the  Spriggans;  whereby  you  may  believe  they 
had  fine  reputations  for  meddlesomeness.  Their 
cousins,  the  Buccas,  Bockles  or  Knockers,  were 



gentlemen  who  went  about  thumping  and  rap- 
ping wherever  there  was  a  vein  of  ore  for  the 
weary  workmen,  cheating,  occasionally,  to  break 
the  monotony. 

The  Welsh  Coblynau  followed  the  same  pro- 
fession, and  pointed  out 
the  desired  places  in 
mines  and  quarries. 
The  Coblynau  were  cop- 
per-colored, and  very 
homely,  as  were  all  the 
pigmies  who  lived  away 
from  the  sun ;  they  were 
busybodies,  half-a-yard 
high,  who  imitated  the 
dress  of  their  friends  the  miners,  and  pegged  away 
at  the  rocks,  like  them,  with  great  noise  and  gusto, 
accomplishing  nothing.  Their  houses  were  far- 
removed  from  mortal  vision,  and  unlike  certain 
proper  children,  now  obsolete,  the  Coblynau  them- 
selves were  generally  heard,  but  not  seen. 

Their  German  relation  was  the  Wichtlein  (little 
wight)  an  extremely  small  fellow,  whom  the  Bohe- 

THE   BLACK.    ELVES.  43 

mians  named  Hans-schniledlein  (little  John  Smith  !) 
because  he  makes  a  noise  like  the  stroke  of  an 

Dwarves  and  mine-men  went  about,  unfailingly, 
with  a  purseful  of  gold.  But  if  anyone  snatched 
it  from  them,  only  stones  and  twine  and  a  pair  of 
scissors  were  to  be  found  in  it.  The  Leprechaun, 
or  Cluricaune,  whom  we  shall  meet  later  as  the 
fairy-cobbler,  was  an  Irish  celebrity  who  knew 
where  pots  of  guineas  were  hidden,  and  who  car- 
ried in  his  pocket  a  shilling  often-spent  and  ever- 
renewed.  He  looked,  in  this  banker-like  capacity, 
a  clumsy  small  boy,  dressed  in  various  ways,  some- 
times in  a  long  coat  and  cocked  hat,  unlike  the 
Danish  Troll,  who  kept  to  homely  gray,  with  the 
universal  little  red  cap.  Even  the  respectable 
Kobold,  who  was,  virtually,  a  house-spirit,  caught 
the  fever  of  fortune-hunting,  and  often  threw  up 
his  domestic  duties  to  seek  the  fascinating  nug- 
gets in  the  mines. 

There  is  a  funny  anecdote  of  a  Troll  who,  as 
was  common  with  his  race,  cunningly  concealed 
his  prize  under  the  shape  of  a  coal,     Now  a  peas- 

44  "brownies  and  bogles. 

ant   on   his   way   to   church   one   bright   Sunday 

morning  saw  him  trying  vainly  to  move  a  couple 

of  crossed  straws  which  had  blown  upon  his  coal ; 

for  anything  in  the  shape  of  a  cross  seemed  to 

shrivel  up  an  elf's  power  in   the    most   startling 

manner.     So  the  little  sprite  turned,  half-crying, 

and  begged  the  peasant  to  move  the  straws  for 

him.     But  the  man  was  too  shrewd  for  that,  and 

took  up  the  coal,  straws  and  all,  and  ran,  despite 

the  poor  Troll's  screaming,  and  saw,  on  reaching 

home,  that  he  had  captured  a  lump  of  solid  gold. 

All    Black   Elves  were    particular   about   their 

neighborhoods,  and  a  whole  colony  would  migrate 

at  once  if  they  took  the  least  offence,  or  if  the 

villagers    about    got    "too    knowing"   for   them. 

(An  American   poet   once  wrote    a   sonnet  "To 

Science,"  in   which    he    berated    her   for   having 

made  him  "  too  knowing,"  and  for  having  driven 

—  "  the  Naiad  from  her  flood 
The  elfin  from  the  green  grass  " ; 

and  it  was  in  consequence  of  his  very  knowiugness, 
no  doubt,  that,  beauty-loving  and  marvel-loving 
as  were  his  sensitive  eyes,  they  never  saw  so  much 

THE    BLACK    ELVES.  45 

as  the  vanishing  shadow  of  a  fairy.)  A  little 
dwarf-woman  told  two  young  Bavarians  that  she 
intended  to  leave  her  favorite  dwelling,  because 
of  the  shocking  cursing  and  swearing  of  the  coun- 
try-people !     But  they  were  not  all  so  godly. 

Ever  since  the  great  god  Thor  threw  his  ham- 
mer at  the  Trolls,  they  have  hated  noise  as  much 
as  Mr.  Thomas  Carlyle,  who,  however,  made 
Thor's  own  bluster  in  the  world  himself.  They 
sought  sequestered  places  that  they  might  not  be 
disturbed.  The  Prussian  mites  near  Dardesheim 
were  frightened  away  by  the  forge  and  the  factory. 
Above  all  else,  church-bells  distressed  them,  and 
spoiled  their  tem- 
pers. A  huckster  once 
passed  a  Danish  Troll, 
sitting  disconsolately 
on  a  stone,  and  asked 
him  what  the  matter 
might  be.  "  I  hate  to 
leave    this    country,"      "i  can't  stay  any  longer  I" 

blubbered  the  fat  mourner,  "  but  I  can't  stay  where 
there  is  such  an  eternal  ringing  and  dinging !  " 



OVER  the  beautiful  Light  Elves  of  the  Edda, 
in  old  Scandinavia,  ruled  the  beloved  sun- 
god  Frey ;  and  they  lived  in  a  summer  land  called 
Alfheim,  and  it  was  their  office  to  sport  in  air  or 
on  the  leaves  of  trees,  and  to  make  the  earth 

But  they  changed  character  as  centuries  passed ; 
and  they  came  to  resemble  the  fairies  of  Great 
Britain  in  their  extreme  waywardness  and  fickle- 
ness. For  though  they  were  fair  and  benevolent 
most  of  the  time,  they  could  be,  when  it  so  pleased 
them,  ugly  and  hurtful ;  and  what  they  could  be, 
they  very  often  were  ;  for  fairies  were  not  expected 
to  keep  a  firm  rein  on  their  moods  and  tempers. 

Norwegian  peasants  described  some  of  their 
Huldrafolk  as  tiny  bare  boys,  with  tall  hats ;  and 

THE    LIGHT    ELVES,  47 

in  Sweden,  as  well,  they  were  slender  and  delicate. 
When  a  Swedish  elf-maid  or  moon-maid  wished 
to  approach  the  inmates  of  a  house,  she  rode  on 
a  sunbeam  through  the  keyhole,  or  between  the 
openings  in  a  shutter. 

The  German  wild-women  were  like  them,  going 
about  alone,  and  having  fine  hair  flowing  to  their 
feet.  They  had  some  odd  traits,  one  of  which  was 
sermonizing!  and  exhorting  stray  mortals  who  had 
done  them  a  service,  to  lead  a  godly  life. 

The  elle-maid  in  Denmark  and  in  neighboring 
countries  was  always  winsome  and  graceful,  and 
carried  an  enchanted  harp.  She  loved  moonlight 
best,  and  was  a  charming  dancer.  But  her  evil 
element  was  in  her  very  beauty,  with  which  she  en- 
trapped foolish  young  gentlemen,  and  waylaid  them, 
and  carried  them  off  who  knows  whither  ?  She 
could  be  detected  by  the  shape  of  her  back,  it 
being  hollow,  like  a  spoon  ;  which  was  meant  to 
show  that  there  was  something  wrong  with  her, 
and  that  she  was  not  what  she  seemed,  but  fit 
only  for  the  abhorrence  of  passers-by.  The  elle- 
man,  her  mate,  was   old    and  ill-favored,  a  disa- 


"brownies  and  bogles." 

greeable  person ;  for  if  any  one  came  near  him 
while  he  was  bathing  in  the  sun,  he  opened  his 
mouth  and  breathed  pestilence  upon  them. 


A  common  trait  of  the  air-fairies  was  to  assist 
at  a  birth  and  give  the  infant,  at  their  will,  good 
and  bad  gifts.     Dame  Bertha,  the  White  Lady  of 



Germany,  came  to  the  birth  of   certain   princely 
babes,  and  the  Kerrigans  made  it  a  general  prac- 


tice.  Whenever  they  nursed  or  tended  a  new-born 
mortal,  bestowed  presents  on  him  and  foretold 
his  destiny,  one  of   the  little  people  was  almost 


always  perverse  enough  to  bestow  and  foretell 
something  unfortunate.  You  all  know  Grimm's 
beautiful  tale  of  Dornroschen,  which  in  English 
we  call  The  Sleeping  Beauty,  where  the  jealous 
thirteenth  fairy  predicts  the  poor  young  lady's 
spindle-wound.  Around  the  famous  Roche  des 
Fe'es  in  the  forest  of  Theil,  are  those  who  believe 
yet  that  the  elves  pass  in  and  out  at  the  chimneys, 
on  errands  to  little  children. 

The  modern  Greek  fairies  haunted  trees,  danced 
rounds,  bathed  in  cool  water,  and  carried  off 
whomsoever  they  coveted.  A  person  offending 
them  in  their  own  fields  was  smitten  with  disease. 

The  Chinese  Shan  Sao  were  a  foot  high,  lived 
among  the  mountains,  and  were  afraid  of  nothing. 
They,  too,  were  revengeful ;  for  if  they  were  at- 
tacked or  annoyed  by  mortals,  they  "  caused  them 
to  sicken  with  alternate  heat  and  cold."  Bonfires 
were  burnt  to  drive  them  away. 

The  innocent  White  Dwarves  of  the  Isle  of 
Riigen  in  the  Baltic  Sea,  made  lace-work  of  silver, 
too  fine  for  the  eye  to  detect,  all  winter  long ;  but 
came  idly  out  into  the  woods  and  fields  with  re- 



turning  spring,  leaping  and  singing,  and  wild  with 
affectionate  joy.  They  were  not  allowed  to  ram- 
ble about  in  their  own  shapes ;  therefore  they 
changed  themselves  to  doves  and  butterflies,  and 


winged   their  way   to   good    mortals,  whom   they 
guarded  from  all  harm. 

The  Korrigans  of  Brittainy,  mentioned  a  while 
ago,  were  peculiar  in  many  ways.  They  had  beau- 
tiful singing  voices  and  bright  eyes,  but  they  never 


danced.  They  preferred  to  sit  still  at  twilight, 
like  mermaids,  combing  their  long  golden  hair. 
The  tallest  of  them  was  nearly  two  feet  high,  fair 
as  a  lily,  and  transparent  as  dew  itself,  yet  able 
as  the  rest  to  seem  dark,  and  humpy,  and  terrify- 
ing. He  who  passed  the  night  with  them,  or 
joined  in  their  sports,  was  sure  to  die  shortly, 
since  their  very  breath  or  touch  was  fatal.  And 
again,  as  in  the  case  of  Seigneur  Nann,  about 
whom  a  touching  Breton  ballad  was  made,  they 
doomed  to  death  any  who  refused  to  marry  one  of 
them  within  three  days. 

Of  the  American  Indian  fairies  we  do  not  know 
much.  In  Mr.  Schoolcraft's  books  of  Indian 
legends  there  is  a  beautiful  little  Bone-dwarf,  who 
may  almost  be  considered  a  fairy.  In  the  land  of 
the  Sioux  they  tell  the  pretty  story  of  Antelope 
and  Karkapaha,  and  how  the  wee  warrior-folk, 
thronging  on  the  hill,  clad  in  deerskin,  and  armed 
with  feathered  arrow  and  spear,  put  the  daring 
heart  of  a  slain  enemy  into  the  breast  of  the  timid 
lover,  Karkapaha,  and  made  him  worthy  both  to 
win  and  keep  his  lovely  maiden,  and  to  deserve 



homage  for  his  bravery,  from  her  tribe  and  his. 
Some  of  you  will  remember  one  thing  against  the 
Puk-Wudjies,  which  is  an  Algonquin  name  mean- 
ing "little  vanishing  folk,"  to  wit:  that  they  killed 
Hiawatha's  friend,  "  the  very  strong  man  Kwa- 
sind,"  as  our  Longfellow  called  him.  He  had  ex- 
cited their  envy,  and  they  flung  on  his  head,  as  he 
floated  in  his  canoe,  the  only  thing  on  earth  that 
could  kill  him,  the  seed-vessel  of  the  white  pine. 

The  Scotch,  Irish  and  English  overground  fair- 
ies were,  as  a  general  thing,  very  much  alike. 
They  had  the  power  of  becoming  visible  or  invisi- 
ble, compressing  or  enlarging  their  size,  and  taking 
any  shape  they  pleased.  When  an  Irish  Shefro 
was  disturbed  or  angry,  and  wanted  to  get  a  house 
or  a  person  off  her  grounds,  she  put  on  the 
strangest  appearances  :  she  could  crow,  spit  fire, 
slap  a  tail  or  a  hoof  about,  grin  like  a  dragon,  or 
give  a  frightful,  weird,  lion-like  roar.  Of  course 
the  object  of  her  polite  attentions  thought  it  best 
to  oblige  her.  If  she  and  her  companions  were 
anxious  to  enter  a  house,  they  lifted  the  spryest  of 
their  number   to    the    keyhole,  and   pushed   him 


through.  He  Ci)rried  a  piece  of  string,  which  he 
fastened  to  the  inside  knob,  and  the  other  end 
to  a  chair  or  stool ;  and  over  this  perilous  bridge 
the  whole  giggling  tribe  marched  in  one  by  one. 
The  Irish  and  Scotch  fays  were  more  mischievous 
than  the  English,  but  have  not  fared  so  well,  hav- 
ing had  no  memorable  verses  made  about  them. 
The  little  Scots  were  sometimes  dwarfish  wild 
creatures,  wrapped  in  their  plaids,  or,  oftener, 
comely  and  yellow-haired ;  the  ladies  in  green 
mantles,  inlaid  with  wild-flowers;  and  dapper  little 
gentlemen  in  green  trousers,  fastened  with  bobs 
of  silk.  They  carried  arrows,  and  went  on  tiny 
spirited  horses,  as  did  the  Welsh  fairies,  "  the  sil- 
ver bosses  of  their  bridles  jingling  in  the  night- 
breeze."  An  old  account  of  Scotland  says  that 
they  were  "clothed  in  green,  with  dishevelled  hair 
floating  over  their  shoulders,  and  faces  more  bloom- 
ing than  the  vermeil  blush  of  a  summer  morning." 
Their  Welsh  cousins  were  many.  A  native  poet 
once  sang  of  them  : 

In  every  liollow, 

A  huiidred  vvrv-mouthed  elves. 


They  were  queer  little  beings,  and  had  notions  of 
what  was  decorous,  for  they  combed  the  goats' 
beards  every  Friday  night,  "  to  make  them  decent 
for  Sunday  !  "  They  were  very  quarrelsome  ;  you 
could  hear  them  snarling  and  jabbering  like  jays 
among  themselves,  so  that  in  some  parts  of  Wales 
a  proverb  has  arisen :  "  They  can  no  more  agree 
than  the  fairies  1  "  The  inhabitants  believed  that 
the  midgets  never  had  courage  to  go  through  the 
gorse,  or  prickly  furze,  which  is  a  common  shrub 
in  that  country.  One  sick  old  woman  who  was 
bothered  by  the  Tylwyth  Teg  ("  the  fair  family  ") 
souring  her  milk  and  spilling  her  tea,  used  to 
choke  up  her  room  with  the  furze,  and  make  such 
a  hedge  about  the  bed,  that  nothing  larger  than  a 
needle  could  be  so  much  as  pointed  at  her.  In 
Breconshire  the  Tylwyth  Teg  gave  loaves  to  the 
peasantry,  which,  if  they  were  not  eaten  then  and 
there  in  the  dark,  would  turn  in  the  morning  into 
toadstools!  When  Welsh  fairies  took  it  into  their 
heads  to  bestow  food  and  money,  very  lazy  people 
were  often  supported  in  great  style,  without  a 
stroke  of  work.     And  the  Tylwyth  Teg  loved  to 

56  "brownies  and  bogles." 

reward  patience  and  generosity.  They  played 
the  harp  continuously,  and,  on  grand  occasions, 
the  bugle ;  but  if  a  bagpipe  was  heard  among 
them,  that  indicated  a  Scotch  visitor  from  over 
the  border. 

King  James  i.  of  England  mentions  in  his 
Dcemonology  a  "  King  and  Queene  of  Phairie  :  sic 
a  jolie  courte  and  traine  as  they  had  !  "  Nothing 
could  have  exceeded  the  state  and  elegance  of 
their  ceremonious  little  lives.  According  to  a 
sweet  old  play,  they  had  houses  made  all  of 
mother-of-pearl,  an  ivory  tennis-court,  a  nutmeg 
parlor,  a  sapphire  dairy-room,  a  ginger  hall;  cham- 
bers of  agate,  kitchens  of  crystal,  the  jacks  of 
gold,  the  spits  of  Spanish  needles !  They  dressed 
in  imported  cobweb !  with  a  four-leaved  clover, 
lined  with  a  dog-tooth  violet,  for  overcoat;  and 
they  ate  (think  of  eating  such  a  pretty  thing !)  deli- 
cious rainbow-tart,  the  trout-fly's  gilded  wing,  and 

the  broke  heart  of  a  nightingale 

O'ercome  with  music. 

But  we  never  heard  that  Chinese  or  Scandinavian 
elves  could  afford  such  luxury. 

THE    LIGHT    ELVES.  57 

Their  English  dwellings  were  often  in  the  bub- 
ble-castles of  sunny  brooks ;  and  the  bright-jack- 
eted hobgoblins  took  their  i^leasure  sitting  under 
toadstools,  or  paddling  about  in  egg-shell  boats, 
playing  jew's-harps  large  as  themselves.  Beside 
the  freehold  of  blossomy  hillocks  and  dingles, 
they  had  dells  of  their  own,  and  palaces,  with 
everything  lovely  in  them ;  and  whatever  they 
longed  for  was  to  be  had  for  the  wishing.  They 
had  fair  gardens  in  clefts  of  the  Cornish  rocks, 
where  vari-colored  flowers,  only  seen  by  moonlight, 
grew ;  in  these  gardens  they  loved  to  walk,  tossing 
a  posy  to  some  mortal  passing  by;  but  if  he  ever 
gave  it  away  they  were  angry  with  him  forever 
after.  They  liked  to  fish  ;  and  the  crews  put  out 
to  sea  in  funny  uniforms  of  green,  with  red  caps. 
They  travelled  on  a  fern,  a  rush,  a  bit  of  weed,  or 
even  boldly  bestrode  the  bee  and  the  dragon-fly ; 
and  they  went  to  the  chase,  as  in  the  Isle  of 
Man,  on  full-sized  horses  whenever  they  could  get 
them !  and  when  it  came  to  time  of  war,  their  ar- 
mies laid-to  like  Alexander's  own,  with  mushroom- 
shield  and  bearded  grass-blades  for  mighty  spears, 



and  honeysuckle  trumpets  braying  furiously  ! 
There  are  traditions  of  battles  so  vehement  and 
long  that  the  cavalry  trampled  down  the  dews  of 

the  mountain -side, 
and  sent  many  a 
peerless  fellow,  at 
every  charge,  to  the 
fairy  hospitals  and 

Their  chief  and  all 
but  universal  amuse- 
ment, sacred  to  moon- 
light and  music,  was 
dancing  hand- in- 
hand  ;  and  what  was  called  a  fairy-ring  was  the 
swirl  of  grasses  in  a  field  taller  and  deeper  green 
than  the  rest,  which  was  supposed  to  mark  their 
circling  path.  Inside  these  rings  it  was  consid- 
ered very  dangerous  to  sleep,  especially  after  sun- 
down. If  you  put  your  foot  within  them,  with  a 
companion's  foot  upon  your  own,  the  elfin  tribe 
became  visible  to  you,  and  you  heard  their  tink- 
ling laughter ;  and  if,  again,  you  wished  a  charm 


THE    LIGHT    ELVES.  59 

to  defy  all  their  anger,  for  they  hated  to  be  over- 
looked by  mortal  eyes,  you  had  merely  to  turn 
your  coat  inside  out.  But  a  house  built  where  the 
wee  folks  had  danced  was  made  prosperous. 

Hear  how  deftly  old  John  Lyly,  nearly  four  hun- 
dred years  ago,  put  the  dancing  in  his  lines : 

Round  about,  round  about,  in  a  fine  ling-a, 
Thus  we  dance,  thus  we  prance,  and  thus  we  sing-a ! 
Trip  and  go,  to  and  fro,  over  this  green-a ; 
All  about,  in  and  out,  for  our  brave  queen-a. 

For  the  elves,  as  we  know,  were  governed  gen- 
erally by  a  queen,  who  bore  a  white  wand,  and 
stood  in  the  centre  while  her  gay  retainers  skipped 
about  her.  Fairy-rings  were  common  in  every 
Irish  parish.  At  Alnwick  in  Northumberland 
County  in  England,  was  one  celebrated  from  an- 
tiquity ;  and  it  was  believed  that  evil  would  befall 
any  who  ran  around  it  more  than  nine  times. 
The  children  were  constantly  running  it  that 
often ;  but  nothing  could  tempt  the  bravest  of 
them  all  to  go  one  step  farther.  In  France,  as  in 
Wales,  the  fairies  guarded  the  cromlechs  with 
care,  and  preferred  to  hold  revel  near  them. 

6o  "brownies  and  bogles." 

At  these  merry  festivals,  in  the  pauses  of  action, 
meat  and  drink  were  passed  around.  A  Danish 
ballad  tells  how  Svend-Falling  drained  a  horn 
presented  by  elf-maids,  which  made  him  as  strong 
as  twelve  men,  and  gave  him  the  appetite  of  twelve 
men,  too ;  a  natural  but  embarrassing  consequence. 
It  used  to  be  proclaimed  that  any  one  daring 
enough  to  rush  on  a  fairy  feast,  and  snatch  the 
drinking-glass,  and  get  away  with  it,  would  be 
lucky  henceforward.  The  famous  goblet,  the 
Luck  of  Edenhall,  was  seized  after  that  fashion, 
by  one  of  the  Musgraves ;  whereat  the  little  peo- 
ple disappeared,  crying  aloud : 

If  that  glass  do  break  or  fall, 
Farewell  the  Luck  of  Edenhall ! 

Once  upon  a  time  the  Duke  of  Wharton  dined  at 
Edenhall,  and  came  very  near  ruining  his  host, 
and  all  his  race ;  for  the  precious  Luck  slipped 
from  his  hand ;  but  the  clever  butler  at  his  elbow 
happily  caught  it  in  his  napkin,  and  averted  the 
catastrophe  :  so  the  beautiful  cup  and  the  favored 
family  enjoy  each  other  in  security  to  this  day. 

THE    LIGHT    ELVES.  6l 

In  the  Song  of  Sir  Olaf,  we  are  told  how  he  fell 

in,  while  riding  by  night,  with  the  whirling  elves; 

and  how,  after  their  every  plea  and  threat  that  he 

should  stay  from  his  to-be-wedded  sweetheart  at 

home,  and  dance,  instead,  with  them,  he  hears  the 

weird  French  refrain  : 

O  the  dance,  the  dance !     How  well  the  dance  goes  under 
the  trees ! 

And  through  their  wicked  magic,  after  all  his 
steadfast  resistance,  with  the  wild  music  and  the 
dizzy  measure  whirling  in  his  brain,  there  he 

All  the  gay,  unsteady,  fantastic  motion  broke 
up  at  the  morning  cock-crow,  and  instantly  the 
little  bacchantes  vanished.  And,  strangest  of  all ! 
the  betraying  flash  of  the  dawn  showed  their 
peach-like  color,  their  blonde,  smooth  hair,  and 
bodily  agility  changed,  like  a  Dead  Sea  apple,  and 
turned  into  ugliness  and  distortion  !  It  was  not  the 
lovely  vision  of  a  minute  back  which  hurried  away 
on  the  early  breeze,  but  a  crowd  of  leering,  sullen- 
eyed  bugaboos,  laughing  fiercely  to  think  how 
they  had  deceived  a  beholder. 


These,  then,  were  the  Light  Elves,  not  all  lova- 
ble, or  loyal,  or  gentle,  as  they  were  expected  to 
be,  but  cruel  to  wayfarers  like  poor  Sir  Olaf,  and 
treacherous  and  mocking;  beautiful  so  long  as 
they  were  good,  and  hideous  when  they  had  done 
a  foul  deed.  It  is  hard  to  say  wherein  they  were 
better  than  the  Underground  Elves,  who  were, 
despite  some  kindly  characteristics,  professional 
doers  of  evil,  and  had  not  the  choice  or  chance 
of  being  so  happy  and  fortunate.  But  we  record 
them  as  we  find  them,  not  without  the  sobering 
thought  that  here,  as  at  every  point,  the  fairies 
are  a  running  commentary  on  the  puzzle  of  our 
own  human  life.     • 



BROWNIE,  the  willing  drudge,  the  kind  little 
housemate,  was  the  most  popular  of  all 
fairies ;  and  it  is  he  whom  we  now  love  and  know 

He  was  a  sweet,  unselfish  fellow;  but  very  wide 
awake  as  well,  full  of  mischief,  and  spirited  as  a 
young  eagle,  when  he  was  deprived  of  his  rights. 
He  belonged  to  a  tribe  of  great  influence  and 
size,  and  each  division  of  that  tribe,  inhabiting 
different  countries,  bore  a  different  name.  But 
the  word  Brownie,  to  English-speaking  people, 
will  serve  as  meaning  those  fairies  who  attached 
themselves  persistently  to  any  spot  or  any  family, 
and  who  labored  in  behalf  of  their  chosen  home. 

The  Brownie  proper  belonged  to  the  Shetland 
and  the  Western  Isles,  to  Cornwall,  and  the  High- 

64  "brownies  and  bogles." 

lands  and  Borderlands  of  Scotland.  He  was  an 
indoor  gentleman,  and  varied  in  that  from  our 
friends  the  Black  and  Light  Elves.  He  took  up 
his  dwelling  in  the  house  or  the  barn,  sometimes 
in  a  special  corner,  or  under  the  roof,  or  even  in 
the  cellar  pantries,  where  he  ate  a  great  deal 
more  than  was  good  for  him.  In  the  beginning  he 
was  supposed  to  have  been  covered  with  short 
curly  brown  hair,  like  a  clipped  water-spaniel, 
whence  his  name.  But  he  changed  greatly  in 
appearance.  Later  accounts  picture  him  with  a 
homely,  sunburnt  little  face,  as  if  bronzed  with 
long  wind  and  weather :  dark-coated,  red-capped, 
and  shod  with  noiseless  slippers,  which  were  as 
good  as  wings  to  his  restless  feet.  Along  with 
him,  in  Scotch  houses,  and  in  English  houses 
supplanting  him,  often  lived  the  Dobie  or  Dobbie 
who  was  not  by  any  means  so  bright  and  active 
("  O,  ye  stupid  Dobie  !  "  runs  a  common  phrase), 
and  therefore  not  to  be  confounded  with  him. 

Brownie's  delight  was  to  do  domestic  service  ;  he 
churned,  baked,  brewed,  mowed,  threshed,  swept, 
scrubbed,    and    dusted  ;    he    set  things  in    order, 

t)EAR    bkOWNlfe. 


saved  many  a  step  to  his  mistress,  and  took  it 
upon  himself  to  manage  the  maid-servants,  and 
reform  them,  if  necessary,  by  severe  and  original 

brownie's  delight  was  to  no  domestic  service. 

measures.  Neatness  and  precision  he  dearly 
loved,  and  never  forgot  to  drop  a  penny  over-night 
in  the  shoe  of  the  person  deserving  well  of  him. 
But  lax  offenders  he  pinched  black  and  blue,  and 

66  "  BROWNIES   AND    BOGLES." 

led  them  an  exciting  life  of  it.  His  favorite  re- 
venge, among  a  hundred  equally  ingenious,  was 
dragging  the  disorderly  servant  out  of  bed.  A 
great  poet  announced  in  Brownie's  name  : 

'Twixt  sleep  and  wake 

I  do  them  take, 

And  on  the  key-cold  floor  them  throw! 

If  out  they  cry 

Then  forth  I  fly, 

And  loudly  laugh  I  :  "  Ho,  ho,  ho  !  " 

Like  all  gnomes  truly  virtuous,  he  could  be  the 
worst  varlet,  the  most  meddlesome,  troublesome, 
burdensome  urchin  to  be  imagined,  when  the  whim 
was  upon  him.  At  such  times  he  gloried  in  un- 
doing all  his  good  deeds ;  and  by  way  of  empha- 
sizing his  former  tidiness  and  industrj*,  he  tore 
curtains,  smashed  dishes,  overturned  tables,  and 
made  havoc  among  the  kitchen-pans.  All  this 
was  done  in  a  sort  of  holy  wrath  ;  for  be  it  to 
Brownie's  credit,  that  if  he  were  treated  with 
courtesy,  and  if  the  servants  did  their  own  duties 
honestly,  he  was  never  other  than  his  gentle,  well- 
behaved,  hard-working  little  self. 


He  asked  no  wages;  he  had  a  New  England 
scorn  of  "  tipping,"  when  he  had  been  especially 
obliging;  and  he  could  not  be  wheedled  into  ac- 
cepting even  so  much  as  a  word  of  praise.  A 
•farmer  at  Washington,  in  Sussex,  England,  who 
had  often  been  surprised  in  the  morning  at  the 
large  heaps  of  corn  threshed  for  him  during  the 
night,  determined  at  last  to  sit  up  and  watch  what 
went  on.  Creeping  to  the  barn-door,  and  peering 
through  a  chink,  he  saw  two  manikins  working 
away  with  their  fairy  flails,  and  stopping  an  in- 
stant now  and  then,  only  to  say  to  each  other: 
"  See  how  I  sweat !  See  how  I  sweat !  "  the  very 
thing  which  befell  Milton's  "lubbar  fiend"  in 
L' Allegro.  The  farmer,  in  his  pleasure,  cried : 
"  Well  done,  my  little  men  !  "  whereupon  the  star- 
tled sprites  uttered  a  cry,  and  whirled  and  whisked 
out  of  sight,  never  to  toil  again  in  his  barn. 

It  is  said  that  not  long  ago,  there  was  a  whole 
tribe  of  tiny,  naked  Kobolds  (Brownie's  German 
name)  called  Heinzelmanchen,  who  bound  them- 
selves for  love  to  a  tailor  of  Cologne,  and  did, 
moreover,  all  the  washing  and  scouring  and  kettle- 

68  "  BROWNIES   AND    BOGLES." 

cleaning  for  his  wife.  Whatever  work  there  was 
left  for  them  to  do  was  straightway  done  ;  but  no 
man  ever  beheld  them.  The  tailor's  prying  spouse 
played  many  a  ruse  to  get  sight  of  them,  to  no 
avail.  And  they,  knowing  her  curiosity  and  grieved 
at  it,  suddenly  marched,  with  music  playing,  out 
of  the  town  forever.  People  heard  their  flutes 
and  viols  only,  for  none  saw  the  little  exiles  them- 
selves, who  got  into  a  boat,  and  sailed  "westward, 
westward ! "  like  Hiawatha,  and  the  city's  luck  is 
thought  to  have  gone  with  them. 

B|it  Brownie,  who  would  take  neither  money, 
nor  thanks,  nor  a  glance  of  mortal  eyes,  and  who 
departed  in  high  dudgeon  as  soon  as  a  reward 
was  offered  him,  could  be  bribed  very  prettily,  if 
it  were  done  in  a  polite  and  secretive  way.  He 
was  not  too  scrupulous  to  pocket  whatever  might 
be  dropped  on  a  stair,  or  a  window-sill,  where  he 
was  sure  to  pass  several  times  in  a  day,  and  walk 
off,  whistling,  to  keep  his  own  counsel,  and  say 
nothing  about  it.  And  for  goodies,  mysterious 
goodies  left  m  queer  places  by  chance,  he  had 
excellent   tooth.      Housewives,  from   the   era   of 


the  first  Brownie,  never  failed  slyly  to  gladden  his 
favorite  haunt  with  the  dish  which  he  liked  best, 
and  which,  so  long  as  it  was  fresh  and  plentiful, 
he  considered  a  satisfactory  squaring-up  of  ac- 
counts. One  of  these  desired  treats  was  knuckled 
cakes,  made  of  meal  warm  from  the  mill,  toasted 
over  the  embers,  and  spread  with  honey.  To 
other  tidbits,  also,  he  was  partial  ;  but,  first  and 
last,  he  relished  his  bowl  of  cream  left  on  the 
floor  overnight.  Cream  he  drank  and  expected 
the  world  over  ;  and  in  Devon,  and  in  the  Isle  of 
Man,  he  liked  a  basin  of  water  for  a  bath.        . 

Fine  clothes  were  quite  to  his  mind ;  he  was 
very  vain  when  he  had  them;  and  it  was  what  Pet 
Marjorie  called  "  majestick  pride,"  and  no  whim 
of  anger  or  sensitiveness,  which  sent  him  hurry- 
ing ofif  the  moment  his  wardrobe  was  supplied  by 
some  grateful  housekeeper,  to  eschew  work  for- 
ever after,  and  set  himself  up  as  a  gentleman  of 
leisure.  Many  funny  stories  are  told  of  his  be- 
havior under  an  unexpected  shower  of  dry  goods. 
Brownie,  who  in  his  humble  station,  was  so  stead- 
fast and  sensible,  had  his  poor  head  completely 



turned  b)'  the  vision  of  a  new  bright-colored 
jacket.  The  gentle  little  Piskies  or  Pixies  of 
Devonshire,  who  are  of   the   Brownie  race,  and 


very  different  from  the  malicious  Piskies  in  Corn- 
wall, were  likewise  great  dandies,  and  sure  to 
decamp  as  soon  as  ever  they  obtained  a  fresh  cap 


or  petticoat.  Indeed,  they  dropped  violent  hints 
on  the  subject.  Think  of  a  sprite-of-all-work,  re- 
corded as  being  too  proud  to  accept  any  regular 
payment  even  in  fruit  or  grain,  standing  up  bra- 
zenly before  his  mistress,  his  sly  eyes  fixed  on 
her,  drawling  out  this  absurd,  whimpering  rhyme 
(for  Piskies  scorned  to  talk  prose  !) : 

Little  risky,  fair  and  slim, 
Without  a  rag  to  cover  him  ! 

With  his  lisp,    and   his    funny   snicker,    and   his 

winning  impudence  generally,  don't  you  think  he 

could  have  wheedled  clothes  out  of  a  stone  ?     Of 

course  the  lady  humored  him,   and  made  him   a 

costly,  trimmed   suit;    and   the    ungrateful    small 

beggar  mads  off  with  it  post-haste,  chanting   to 

another  tune  : 

Pisky  fine,  Pisky  gay ! 
Pisky  now  will  run  away. 

The  moment  the  Brownie-folk  could  cut  a  re- 
spectable figure  in  fashionable  garments,  they 
turned  their  backs  on  an  honest  living,  and  skur- 
ried  away  to  astonish  the  belles  in  Fairyland. 

Very  much  the  same  thing  befell  some  German 

72  "rrownies  and  bogles. 

house-dwarves,  who  used  to  help  a  poor  smith, 
and  make  his  kettles  and  pans  for  him.  They 
took  their  milk  evening  by  evening,  and  went 
back  gladly  to  their  work,  to  the  smith's  great 
profit  and  pleasure.  When  he  had  grown  rich, 
his  thankful  wife  made  them  pretty  crimson  coats 
and  caps,  and  laid  both  where  the  wee  creatures 
might  stumble  on  them.  But  when  they  had  put 
the  uniforms  on,  they  shrieked  "  Paid  off,  paid 
off ! "  and,  quitting  a  task  half-done,  returned  no 

The  Pisky  was  not  alone  in  his  bold  request 
for  his  sordid  little  heart's  desire.  A  certain 
Piick  lived  thirty  years  in  a  monastery  in  Meck- 
lenburg, Germany,  doing  faithful  drudgery  from 
his  youth  up  ;  and  one  of  the  monks  wrote,  in  his 
ingenious  Latin,  that  on  going  away,  all  he  asked 
was  '■'tufiicam  de  diversis  coloribus,  et  tintitmabulis 
plaiam!"  You  may  put  the  goblin's  vanity  into 
English  for  yourselves.  Brownie  is  known  as 
Shelley-coat  in  parts  of  Scotland,  from  a  German 
term  meaning  bell,  as  he  wears  a  bell,  like  the 
Riigen  Dwarves,  on  his  parti-colored  coat. 



The  famous  Cauld  Lad  of  Hilton  was  con- 
sidered a  Brownie.  If  everything  was  left  well- 
arranged    in  the  rooms,    he    amused   himself   by 

•'  Tunicam  de  diversis  coloribus,  et  tintinnabulis  plenani  ' "  WAS 


night  with  pitching  chairs  and  vases  about ;  but  if 
he  found  the  place  in  confusion,  he  kindly  went 
to  work  and  put  it  in  exquisite  order.  But  the 
Cauld  Lad  was,  more  likely,  by  his  own  confession, 

74  "brownies  and  bogles. 

a  ghost,  and  no  true  fairy.  Romances  were  told 
of  him,  and  he  had  been  heard  to  sing  this  canti- 
cle, which  makes  you  wonder  whether  he  had  ever 
heard  of  the  House  that  Jack  Built : 

Wae's  me,  wae's  nie  ! 
The  acorn's  not  yet  fallen  from  the  tree 
That's  to  grow  the  wood  that's  to  make  the  cradle 
That's  to  rock  the  bairn  that's  to  grow  to  the  man 

That's  to  lay  me ! 

It  was  only  ghosts  who  could  be  "laid,"  and  to 
"lay"  him  meant  to  give  him  freedom  and  re- 
lease, so  that  he  need  no  longer  go  about  in  that 
bareboned  and  mournful  state. 

But  the  merriest  grig  of  all  the  Brownies  was 
called  in  Southern  Scotland,  Wag-at-the-Wa'.  He 
teased  the  kitchen-maids  much  by  sitting  under 
their  feet  at  the  hearth,  or  on  the  iron  crook 
which  hung  from  the  beam  in  the  chimney,  and 
which,  of  old,  was  meant  to  accommodate  pots 
and  kettles.  He  loved  children,  and  he  loved 
jokes ;  his  laugh  was  very  distinct  and  pleasant ; 
but  if  he  heard  of  anybody  drinking  anything 
stronger  than  home-brewed  ale,  he  would  cough 



virtuously,  and  frown  upon  the   company.     Now 
Wag-at-the-Wa'  had  the  toothache   all   the  time, 
and,  considering  his 
twinges,  was  it  not 
good  of  him  to  be 
so     cheerful  ?      He 
wore    a    great    red- 
woollen     coat    and 
blue    trousers,    and 
sometimes     a    grey 
cloak  over;  and  he 
shivered  even  then, 
with  one  side  of  his 
poor    face   bundled 
up,    till     his     head 
seemed  big  as  a  cab- 
bage.     He    looked 
impish  and  wrinkled, 
too,  and   had   short 
bent  legs.     But  his 
beautiful,  clever  tail  atoned  for  everything,   and 
with  it,  he  kept  his  seat  on  the  swinging  crook. 
Scotch    fairies    called    Powries    and    Dunters 

"  wag-at-the-wa'." 

7$  "brownies  and  bogles.'' 

haunted  lonely  Border-mansions,  and  behaved  like 
peaceable  subjects,  beating  flax  from  year  to  year. 
The  Dutch  Kaboutermannekin  worked  in  mills,  as 
well  as  in  houses.  He  was  gentle  and  kind,  but 
**  touchy,"  as  Brownie-people  are.  Though  he 
dressed  gayly  in  red,  he  was  not  pretty,  but 
boasted  a  fine  green  tint  on  his  face  and  hands. 
Little  Killmoulis  was  a  mill-haunting  brother  of 
his,  who  loved  to  lie  before  the  fireplace  in  the 
kiln.  This  precious  old  employee  was  blest  with 
a  most  enormous  nose,  and  with  no  mouth  at  all  ! 
But  he  had  a  great  appetite  for  pork,  however  he 
managed  to  gratify  it, 

Bolieta,  a  Swiss  Kobold,  distinguished  himself 
by  leading  cows  safely  through  the  dangerous 
mountain-paths,  and  keeping  them  sleek  and 
happy.  His  branch  of  the  family  lived  as  often 
in  the  trunk  of  a  near  tree,  as  in  the  house  itself. 

In  Denmark  and  Sweden  was  the  Kirkegrim, 
the  "  church  lamb,"  who  sometimes  ran  along  the 
aisles  and  the  choir  after  ser\nce-time,  and  to  the 
grave-digger  betokened  the  death  of  a  little  child. 
But  there  was  another  Kirkegrim,  a  proper  church- 


Brownie,  who  kept  the  pews  neat,  and  looked 
after  people  who  misbehaved  during  the  sermon. 

As  queer  as  any  of  these  was  the  Phynodderee, 
or  the  Hairy  One,  the  Isle  of  Man  house-helper. 
He  was  a  wild  little  shaggy  being,  supposed  to  be 
an  exile  from  fairy  society,  and  condemned  to 
wander  about  alone  until  doomsday.  He  was 
kind  and  obliging,  and  drove  the  sheep  home,  or 
gathered  in  the  hay,  if  he  saw  a  storm  coming. 

The  Klabautermann  was  a  ship-Brownie,  who 
sat  under  the  capstan,  and  in  time  of  danger, 
warned  the  crew  by  running  up  and  down  the 
shrouds  in  great  excitement.  This  eccentric  Fly- 
ing Dutchman  had  a  fiery  red  head,  and  on  it  a 
steeple-like  hat ;  his  yellow  breeches  were  tucked 
into  heavy  horseman's  boots. 

HUttchen  was  a  German  Brownie,  who  lived  at 
court,  but  who  dressed  like  a  little  peasant,  with 
a  flapping  felt  hat  over  his  eyes.  The  Alraun, 
a  sort  of  house-imp  shorn  of  all  his  engaging 
diligence,  was  very  small,  his  body  being  made 
of  a  root ;  he  lived  in  a  bottle.  If  he  was  thrown 
away,  back  he  came,  persistently  as  a  rubber  ball. 

78  "  BROWNIES   AND    BOGLES." 

But   that    instinct  was  common    to  the    Brownie 

The  Roman  Penates,  Vinculi  terrei,  which  brave 
old  Reginald  Scott  called  "  domesticall  gods," 
were  Brownie's  venerable  and  honorable  ances- 
tors. We  shall  see  presently  v.-hat  names  their 
descendants  bore  in  various  countries.  But  the 
Russian  Domovoi  we  shall  not  count  among  them, 
because  they  were  ghostly,  like  the  poor  Cauld 
Lad,  and    seem  to  have  been  full-sized. 



IN  modern  Greece  the  Brownie  was  known  as 
the  Stoechia.  He  was  called  Para  in  Fin- 
land ;  Trasgo  or  Duende  in  Spain ;  Lutin,  Gobe- 
lin, Follet,  in  France  and  Normandy ;  Niss-god- 
drange  in  Norway  and  Denmark  ;  Tomte,  in 
Sweden ;  Niss  in  Jutland,  Denmark  and  Fries- 
land  ;  Bwbach  or  Pwcca  in  Wales ;  in  Ireland,  Fir- 
Darrig  and,  sometimes,  Cluricaune;  Kobold,  in 
Germany ;  and  in  England,  Brownie  figured  as 
Boggart,  Puck,  Hobgoblin,  and  Robin  Goodfellow. 

Often  the  Stoechia,  a  wayward  little  black  being, 
went  about  the  house  under  the  shape  of  a  lizard 
or  small  snake.  He  was  harmless ;  his  presence 
was  an  omen  of  prosperity ;  and  great  care  was 
taken  that  no  disrespect  was  shown  him. 

The  services  of  the  Para,  who  was  a  well-mean- 


8o  "brownies  and  bogles." 

ing  rascal,  were  rather  singular,  and  not  at  all  in- 
dispensable. He  had  a  way  of  following  the 
neighbor's  cows  to  pasture,  and  milking  them  him- 
self, in  a  calf's  fashion,  until  he  had  swallowed 
quart  on  quart,  and  was  as  full  as  a  little  hogs- 
head. Then  he  went  home,  uncorked  his  thiev- 
ing throat,  and  obligingly  emptied  every  drop  of 
his  ill-gotten  goods  into  his  master's  churn  !  How 
his  feelings  must  have  been  hurt  if  anybody  crit- 
icized the  cheese  and  butter  ! 

The  Spanish  house-goblin  was  a  statelier  person, 
and  wore  an  enormous  plumed  hat,  and  threw 
stones  in  a  stolid  and  haughty  manner  at  people 
he  disliked.  But  occasionally  the  Duende  had 
the  form  of  a  little  busy  friar,  like  the  Mona- 
chiello  at  Naples. 

The  Lutin,  or  Gobelin,  or  Follet  of  French  be- 
lief, was  likewise  a  stone-thrower.  He  was  fond 
of  children,  and  of  horses ;  taking  it  upon  himself 
to  feed  and  caress  his  landlord's  children  when 
they  were  good,  and  to  whip  them  when  they  were 
naughty ;  and  he  rode  the  willing  horses,  and 
combed  them,  and  plaited  their  manes  into  knotty 


braids,  for  which,  we  may  fear,  the  stable-boy  never 

thanked  him.      He  knew,  too,  how  to  worry  and 

tease ;   and  certain    French    mothers   threatened 

troublesome  little  folk  with  the  "  Gobelin  :  "  "  Le 

gobelin  vous  mangeraf"   which  we   may  translate 

into  :  "  The  goblin  will  gobble  you  !  "  or  into  the 

v/himsical  lines  of  an  American  poet : 

The  gobble  uns'll  git  you, 





The  Norwegian  Nis  was  like  a  strong-shoul- 
dered child,  in  a  coat  and  peaky  cap,  who  carried 
a  pretty  blue  light  at  night.  He  enjoyed  hopping 
or  skating  across  the  farmyard  under  the  moon's 
ray.  Dogs  he  would  not  allow  in  his  house.  If 
he  was  first  promised  a  gray  sheep  for  his  own,  he 
would  teach  any  one  to  play  the  violin.  Like 
many  another  of  the  Brownie  race,  he  was  a 
dandy,  and  loved  nothing  better  than  fine  clothes. 

Tomte  of  Sweden  lived  in  a  tree  near  the 
house.     He  was  as  tall  as  a  year-old  boy,  with  a 

82  "brownies  and  bogles." 

knowing  old  face  beneath  his  cap.  In  harvest- 
time  he  tugged  away  at  one  straw,  or  one  grain, 
until  he  laid  it  in  his  master's  barn;  for  his 
strength  was  not  much  greater  than  an  ant's.  If 
the  farmer  scorned  his  diligent  little  servant,  and 
made  fun  of  his  tiny  load,  all  luck  departed  from 
him,  and  the  Tomte  went  away  in  anger.  He 
liked  tobacco,  played  merry  pranks,  and  doubled 
up  comically  when  he  laughed.  But  he  had  an- 
other laugh,  scoffing  and  sarcastic,  which  he  some- 
times gave  at  the  top  of  his  voice. 

Like  the  Devon  Piskies,  the  Niss-Puk  required 
water  left  at  his  disposal  over-night.  The  Nis  of 
Jutland  was  the  Puk  of  Friesland.  He  also  liked 
his  porridge  with  butter.  He  lived  under  the 
roof,  or  in  dark  corners  of  the  stable  and  house. 
He  was  of  the  Tomte's  size ;  he  wore  red  stock- 
ings on  his  stumpy  little  legs,  and  a  pointed  red 
cap,  and  a  long  gray  or  green  coat.  For  soft, 
easy  slippers  he  had  a  great  longing;  and  if  a 
pair  were  left  out  for  him,  he  was  soon  heard 
shuffling  in  them  over  the  floor.  He  had  long 
arms,  and  a  big  head,  and  big  bright  eyes,  so  that 


the  people  of  Silt  have  a  saying  concerning  an  in- 
quisitive or  astonished  person ;  "  He  stares  like  a 
Puk."  Puk,  too,  played  sorry  tricks  on  the  serv- 
ants, and  was  indignant  if  he  was  ever  deprived 
of  his  nightly  bowl  of  groute. 

The  Bwbach  of  Wales  churned  the  cream,  and 
begged  for  his  portion,  like  a  true  Brownie ;  he 
was  a  hairy  blackamoor  with  the  best-natured  grin 
in  the  world.  But  he  had  an  unpleasant  habit  of 
whisking  mortals  into  the  air,  and  doing  flighty 
mischiefs  generally. 

The  unique  Irish  Cluricaune,  who  had  that 
name  in  Cork,  was  called  Luricaune  and  Lepre- 
chaun in  other  parts  of  the  country.  He  differed 
from  the  Shefro  in  living  alone,  and  in  his  queer 
appearance  and  habits.  For  though  he  was  a 
house-spirit  and  did  house-work,  his  ambitions  ran 
in  an  opposite  direction,  and  in  his  every  spare 
minute,  when  he  was  not  smoking  or  drinking, 
you  might  have  seen  him,  a  miniature  old  man, 
with  a  cocked  hat,  and  a  leather  apron,  sitting  on 
a  low  stool,  humming  a  fairy-tune,  and  perpetually 
cobbling  at  a  pair  of  shoes  no  bigger  than  acorns. 



The  shoes  were  occasionally  captured  and  shown. 
And  as  we  have  seen,  Mr.  Cluricaune  was  a  for- 
tune-hunter, and  a  very  wide-awake,  versatile  gob- 
lin  altogether.     In  his   capacity  of   Brownie,  he 

once  wreaked  a 
hard  revenge  on 
a  maid  who 
served  him  shab- 
bily. A  Mr.  Har- 
ris,  a  Quaker, 
had  on  his  farm 
a  C  1  u  ricaune 
named  Little 
W  i  1  d  b  e  a  m . 
Whenever  the 
servants  left  the 
beer-barrel    run- 


ning  through  negligence,  Little  Wildbeam  wedged 
himself  into  the  cock,  and  stopped  the  flow, 
at  great  inconvenience  to  his  poor  little  body, 
until  some  one  came  to  turn  the  knob.  So  the 
master  bade  the  cook  always  put  a  good  din- 
ner down  cellar  for  Little  Wildbeam.     One  Friday 


she  had  nothing  but  part  of  a  herring,  and  some 
cold  potatoes,  whicli  she  left  in  place  of  the  usual 
feast.  That  very  midnight  the  fat  cook  got  pulled 
out  of  bed,  and  thrown  down  the  cellar-stairs,  bump- 
ing from  side  to  side,  so  that  it  made  her  very  sore 
indeed ,  and  meanwhile  the  smirking  Cluricaune 
stood  at  the  head  of  the  steps,  and  sang  at  the 
luckless  heap  below : 

Molly  Jones,  Molly  Jones  ! 
Potato-skin  and  herring-bones  ! 
I'll  knock  your  head  against  the  stones, 
Molly  Jones  ! 

In  Japanese  houses,  even,  Brownies  were  fa- 
miliar comers  and  goers.  They  were  important 
and  smooth-mannered  pigmies,  and  serenely  dealt 
out  rewards  and  punishments  as  they  saw  fit. 
When  they  were  engaged  in  befriending  commend- 
able boys  and  girls,  their  features  had,  somehow, 
the  ingenious  likeness  of  letters  signifying  "  good ;  " 
and  if  they  made  it  their  business  to  plague  and 
hinder  naughty  idlers,  who,  instead  of  doing  their 
errands  promptly,  stopped  at  the  shops  to  buy 
goodies,  their  queer  little  faces  were  screwed  up 



to  mean  "  bad,"  as  you  see   in  Japanese  artists' 

The  English  names  for  the  affable  Brownie-folk 
bring  to  our  minds  the  most  wayward,  frolicsome 
elves   of   all    fairydom.     Boggart   was    the  York- 


shire  sprite,  and  the  Boggart  commonly  disliked 
children,  and  stole  their  food  and  playthings ; 
wherein  he  differed  from  his  kindly  kindred.  Hob- 
goblin (Hop-goblin)  was  so  called  because  he 
hopped  on  one  leg.  Hobgoblin  is  the  same  as 
Rob  or    Bob-Goblin,  a   goblin  whose    full    name 



seemed  to  be  Robert.  Robin  Hood,  the  famous 
outlaw,  dear  to  all  of  us,  was  thought  to  have 
been  christened  after  Robin  Hood  the  fairy,  be- 
cause he,  too,  was  tricksy  and  sportive,  wore  a 
hood,  and  lived  in  the  deep  forest. 

In  Ireland  lived  the  mocking,  whimsical  little 
Fir-Darrig,  Rob- 
in Goodfellow's 
own  twin.  He 
dressed  in  tight- 
fitting  red  ;  Fir- 
Darrig  itself 
meant  "  the  red 
man.''  He  had 
big  h  u  m  o  r  o  u  s 
ears,  and  the 
softest  and  most  flexible  voice  in  the  world,  which 
could  mimic  any  sound  at  will.  He  sat  by  the 
fire,  and  smoked  a  pipe,  big  as  himself,  belong- 
ing to  the  man  of  the  house.  He  loved  cleanli- 
ness, brought  good-luck  to  his  abode,  and,  like  a 
cat,  generally  preferred  places  to  people. 

Puck  and   Robin  Goodfellow  were  the  names 

88  "brownies  and  bogles." 

best  known  and  cherished.  There  is  no  doubt 
that  Shakespeare,  from  whom  we  have  now  our 
prevailing  idea  of  Puck,  got  the  idea  of  him,  in 
his  turn,  from  the  popular  superstitions  of  his  day. 
But  Puck's  very  identity  was  all  but  forgotten,  and 
since  Shakespeare  was,  therefore,  his  poetical 
creator,  we  will  forego  mention  of  him  here,  and 
entitle  Robin  Goodfellow,  the  same  "shrewd  and 
meddling  elf,"  under  another  nickname,  the  true 
Brownie  of  England. 

He  was  both  House-Helper  and  Mischief-Maker, 
"  the  most  active  and  extraordinary  fellow  of  a 
fairy,"  says  Ritson,  "  that  we  anywhere  meet  with." 
He  was  said  to  have  had  a  supplementary  brother 
called  Robin  Badfellow ;  but  there  was  no  need 
of  that,  because  he  was  Robin  Badfellow  in  him- 
self, and  united  in  his  whimsical  little  character 
so  many  opposite  qualities,  that  he  may  be  con- 
sidered the  representative  elf  the  world  over ;  for 
the  old  Saxon  Hudkin,  the  Niss  of  Scandinavia, 
and  Knecht  Ruprecht,  the  Robin  of  Germany, 
are  nothing  but  our  masquerading  goblin-friend  on 
continental  soil.     And  in  the  red-capped  smiling 


Mikumwess  among  the  Passamaquoddy  Indians, 
there  he  is  again  ! 

By  this  name  of  Robin  he  was  known  earlier 
than  the  thirteenth  century,  and  "  famosed  in  everie 
olde  wives'  chronicle  for  his  mad  merrie  prankes," 
two  hundred  years  later.  His  biography  was  put 
forth  in  a  black-letter  tract  in  1628,  and  in  a  yet 
better-known  ballad  which  recited  his  jests,  and 
was  in  free  circulation  while  Queen  Bess  was  reign- 
ing. The  forgotten  annalist  says  very  heartily, 
alluding  to  his  string  of  aliases  : 

But  call  liim  by  what  name  you  list ; 
I  have  studied  on  my  pillow, 
And  think  the  name  he  best  deserves 
Is  Robin,  the  Good  Fellow  ! 

We  class  him  rightly  as  a  Brownie,  because  he 
skimmed  milk,  knew  all  about  domestic  life,  and 
was  the  delight  or  terror  of  servants,  as  the  case 
might  be.  He  was  fond  of  making  a  noise  and 
clatter  on  the  stairs,  of  playing  harps,  ringing  bells, 
and  misleading  passing  travellers ;  and  despite 
his  knavery,  he  came  to  be  much  beloved  by  his 
house-mates,    Very  like  him  was  the  German  Hem- 


pelman,  who  laughed  a  great  deal.  But  the  laugh 
of  Master  Robin  sometimes  foreboded  trouble  and 
death  to  people,  which  Henipelman's  never  did. 

The  jolly  German  Kobold  had  a  laugh  which 
filled  his  throat,  and  could  be  heard  a  mile  away. 
Bu  he  was  a  gnome  malignant  enough  if  he  was 
neglected  or  insulted.  He  very  seldom  made  a 
mine-sprite  of  himself,  but  stayed  at  home,  Brown- 
ie-like, and  "  ran "  the  house  pretty  much  as  he 
saw  fit.  To  the  Dwarves  he  was,  however,  closely 
related,  and  dressed  after  their  fashion,  except 
that  sometimes  he  wore  a  coat  of  as  many  colors 
as  the  rainbow,  with  tinkling  bells  fastened  to  it. 
He  objected  to  any  chopping  or  spinning  done  on 
a  Thursday.  Change  of  servants,  while  he  held 
his  throne  in  the  kitchen,  affected  him  not  in  the 
least ;  for  the  maid  going  away  recommended  her 
successor  to  treat  him  civilly,  at  her  peril.  A  very 
remarkable  Kobold  was  Hinzelmann,  who  called 
himself  a  Christian,  and  came  to  the  old  castle  of 
Hiidemiihlen  in  1584;  whose  history,  too  long  to 
add  here,  is  given  charmingly  in  Mr.  Keightley's 
Fairy  Mythology. 


A  certain  bearded  little  Kobold  lived  with  some 
fishermen  in  a  hut,  and  tried  a  trick  which  was 
quite  classic,  and  reminds  one  of  the  Greek  story 
of  Procrustes,  which  all  of  you  have  met  with,  or 
will  meet  with,  some  day.  Says  Mr.  Benjamin 
Thorpe  :  "  His  chief  amusement,  when  the  fisher- 
men were  lying  asleep  at  night,  was  to  lay  them 
even.  For  this  purpose  he  would  first  draw  them 
up  until  their  heads  all  lay  in  a  straight  line,  but 
then  their  legs  would  be  out  of  the  line  !  and  he 
had  to  go  to  their  feet  and  pull  them  up  until  the 
tips  of  their  toes  were  all  in  a  row.  This  game  he 
would  continue  till  broad  daylight." 

Now  all  Brownies,  Nissen,  Kobolds  and  the 
rest,  were  very  much  of  a  piece,  and  when  you 
know  the  virtues  and  faults  of  one  of  them,  you 
know  the  habits  of  the  race.  So  that  you  can  un- 
derstand, despite  the  slight  but  steady  help  given 
in  household  matters,  that  a  joerson  so  variable 
and  exacting  and  high-tempered  as  this  curious 
little  sprite  might  happen  sometimes  to  be  a  great 
bore,  and  might  inspire  his  master  or  mistress 
with  the  sighing  wish  to  be  rid  of  him.     It  was  a 


tradition  in  Normandy  that  to  shake  off  the  Lutin 
or  Gobelin,  it  was  merely  necessary  to  scatter 
flax-seed  where  he  was  wont  to  pass  ;  for  he  was 
too  neat  to  let  it  lie  there,  and  yet  tired  so  soon 
of  picking  it  up,  that  he  left  it  in  disgust,  and 
went  away  for  good.  And  there  was  a  sprite 
named  Flerus  who  lived  in  a  farm-house  near  Os- 
tend,  and  worked  so  hard,  sweeping  and  drawing 
water,  and  turning  himself  into  a  plough-horse 
that  he  might  replace  the  old  horse  who  was  sick, 
for  no  reward,  either,  save  a  little  fresh  sugared 
milk  —  that  soon  his  master  was  the  wealthiest 
man  in  the  neighborhood.  But  a  giddy  young 
servant-maid  once  offended  him,  at  the  day's  end, 
by  giving  him  garlic  in  his  milk  ;  and  as  soon  as 
poor  Flerus  tasted  it,  he  departed,  very  wrathful 
and  hurt,  from  the  premises,  forever. 

There  were  few  such  successful  instances  on 
record.  Though  Brownie  was  ready,  in  every 
land  under  the  sun,  to  leave  home  when  he  took 
the  fancy,  or  when  he  was  puffed  up  with  gifts  of 
lace  and  velvet,  so  that  no  mortal  residence  was 
gorgeous  enough  for  him,  yet  he  would  take  no 



hint,  nor  obey  any  command,  when  either  pointed 
to  a  banishment. 

Near  Kopenick  once,  a  man  thought  of  buying 
a  new  house,  and  turning  his  back  on  a  vexatious 


Kobold.  The  morning  before  he  meant  to  change 
quarters,  he  saw  his  Kobold  sitting  by  a  pool,  and 
asked  him  what  he  was  doing.  "  I  am  doing  my 
washing!  "    said    the    sharp   rogue,   "because  we 

94  "  BROWNIES   AND    BOGLES." 

move  to-morrow."  And  the  man  saw  very  well 
that  as  he  could  not  avoid  him,  he  had  better  take 
the  little  nuisance  along.  The  same  thing  hap- 
pened in  the  capital  Polish  anecdote  of  Iskrzycki 
(make  your  respects  to  his  excruciating  name!) 
and  over  Northern  Europe  the  sarcastic  joke  "Yes, 
we're  flitting ! "  prevails    in  folk-song  and  story. 

There  is  many  and  many  an  example  of  families 
selling  the  old  house,  and  going  off  in  great  glee 
with  the  furniture,  thinking  the  elf-rascal  cheated 
and  left  behind ;  and  lo !  there  he  was,  perched 
on  a  rope,  or  peering  from  a  hole  in  the  cart  itself, 
on  his  congratulated  master. 

The  funniest  hap  of  all  befell  an  ungrateful 
farmer  who  fired  his  barn  to  burn  the  poor  Ko- 
bold  in  it.  As  he  was  driving  off,  he  turned  to 
look  at  the  blaze,  and  what  should  he  see  on  the 
seat  behind  him  but  the  same  excited  Kobold, 
chattering,  monkey-like,  and  shrieking  sympathiz- 
ingly :  "  It  was  about  time  for  us  to  get  out  of  that, 
wasn't  it  ? " 

The  dark-skinned  little  house-sprites  came  to 
stay ;  and  as  for  being  snubbed,  they  were  quite 


above  it.  They  were  the  sort  of  callers  to  whom 
you  could  never  show  the  door,  with  any  dignity ; 
for  if  you  had  done  so,  the  grinning  goblin  would 
have  examined  knob  and  panels  with  a  squinted 
sye,  and  gone  back  whistling  to  your  easy-chair. 



OF  old,  there  were  Oreads  and  Naiads  to  peo- 
ple the  rivers  and  the  sea,  but  they  were 
not  fairies;  and  in  after-years  the  beautiful,  bright 
water-life  of  Greece,  with  its  shells  and  dolphins, 
its  palaces,  its  subaqueous  music,  and  its  happy- 
hearted  maids  and  men,  faded  wholly  out  of  mem- 
ory. No  one  dominant  race  came  to  replace  them. 
Merpeople,  Tritons  and  Sirens  we  meet  now  and 
then,  as  did  Hendrik  Hudson's  crew,  and  the 
Moruachs  of  Ireland,  the  Morverch  (sea-daughters) 
of  Brittainy ;  but  they,  too,  were  grown,  and  half- 
human.  They  were  beautiful  and  swift,  and  usually 
sat  combing  their  long  hair,  with  a  mirror  in  one 
hand,  and  their  glossy  tails  tapering  from  the  waist. 
The  Danish  Mermaid  was  gold-haired,  cunning 
and  treacherous ;  the  Havmand  or  Merman  was 


handsome,  too,  with  black  hair  and  beard,  but  kind 
and  beneficent. 

The  Swedish  pair  ofifered  presents  to  those  on 
shore,  or  passing  in  boats,  in  hopes  to  sink  them 
beneath  the  waves. 

England  and  Ireland  had  no  water-sprites  which 
answered  to  the  Nix  and  the  Kelpie,  only  the  Mer- 
row,  who  was  a  Mermaid.  She  was  a  fair  woman, 
with  white,  webbed  fingers.  She  carried  upon  her 
head  a  little  diving-cap,  and  when  she  came  up  to 
the  rocks  or  the  beach,  she  laid  it  by ;  but  if  it 
were  stolen  from  her,  she  lost  the  power  of  return- 
ing to  the  sea.  So  that  if  her  cap  were  taken  by  a 
young  man,  she  very  often  could  do  nothing  better 
than  to  marry  him,  and  spend  her  time  hunting 
for  it  up  and  down  over  his  house.  And  once  she 
had  found  it,  she  forgot  all  else  but  her  desire  to 
go  home  to  "  the  kind  sea-caves,"  and  despite  the 
calling  of  her  neighbors  and  husband  and  chil- 
dren, she  flitted  to  the  shore,  and  plunged  into  the 
first  oncoming  billow,  and  walked  the  earth  no 

Tales  of  these  spirit-brides  who  suddenly  de- 


"brownies  and  bogles." 

serted  the  green  earth  for  their  dear  native  waters, 
are  common  in  Arabian  and  European  folk-lore. 
And  this  characteristic  was  noted  also  in  the  Sea- 
trows  of  the  Shetland  Islands,  who  divested  them- 
selves of  a  shining  fish-skin,  and  could  not  find  the 


way  to  their  ocean-beds  if  it  were  kept  out  of  their 
reach.  It  was  the  Danish  sailor's  belief  that  seals 
laid  by  their  skins  every  ninth  night,  and  took 
maiden's  forms  wherewith  to  sport  and  sleep  on  the 
reefs.     And  for  their  capture  as  they  were,  warm. 


living  and  human,  one  had  only  to  snatch  and  hide 
away  their  talisman-skin. 

The  strange  German  Water-man  wore  a  green 
hat,  and  when  he  opened  his  mouth,  his  teeth  as 
well  were  green  ;  he  appeared  to  girls  who  passed 
his  lake,  and  measured  out  ribbon,  and  flung  it  to 

But  we  must  search  for  smaller  sprites  than 

The  little  water-fairies  who  devoted  themselves 
to  drawing  under  whomsoever  encroached  on  their 
pools  and  brooks,  were  called  Nixies  in  Germany, 
Kerrigans  (for  this  was  part  of  their  office)  in  Brit- 
tainy ;  Ondins  about  Magdebourg,  and  Roussalkis, 
the  long-haired,  smiling  ones,  among  the  Slavic 

The  engaging  Nixies  were  very  minute  and  mis- 
chievous, and  abounded  in  the  Shetland  Isles  and 
Cornwall,  as  did,  moreover,  the  Kelpies,  who  were 
like  tiny  horses,  known  even  in  China;  sporting  on 
the  margin,  and  foreboding  death  by  drowning,  to 
any  who  beheld  them;  or  tempting  passers-by  to 
mount,  and  plunging,  with  their  victims,  headlong 



into  the  deep.  The  Nix-lady  was  recognized  when 
she  came  on  shore  by  the  edges  of  her  dress  or 
apron  being  perpetually  wet.  The  dark-eyed  Nix- 
man  with  his  seaweed  hair  and  his  wide  hat,  was 
known  by  his  slit  ears  and  feet,  which  he  was  very 


careful  to  conceal.  Once  in  a  while  he  was  ob- 
served to  be  half-fish.  The  naked  Nixen  were 
draped  with  moss  and  kelp;  but  when  they  were 
clothed,  they  seemed  merely  little  men  and  women, 
save  that  the  borders  of  their  garments,  dripping 
water,  betrayed  them.  They  did  their  marketing 
ashore,  wheresoever  they  were,  and,  according  to 



all  accounts,  with  a  sharp  eye  to  economy. 
Like  the  land-elves,  they  loved  to  dance  and 
sing.      Nix  did   not  favor  divers,  fishermen,  and 

other  intrud- 
ers on  his  terri- 
tory, and  he  did 

his  best 
to  harm   them. 
He  was  altogether 
a   fierce,   grudging, 

^  T*il^      «    ^  THE   WORK   OF   THE    NICKEL. 

covetous  little  crea- 
ture.    His  comelier  wife  was  much  better-natured, 
and  befriended  human  beings  to  the  utmost  of 
her  power. 

Near  Ghent  was  a  little  old  Nix  who  lived  in  the 
Scheldt;  he  cried  and  sighed  much,  and  did  mis- 
chief to  no  one.  It  grieved  him  when  children  ran 
away  from  him,  yet  if  they  asked  what  troubled  his 
conscience,  he  only  sighed  heavily,  and  disappeared. 


The  modern  Greeks  believed  in  a  black  sprite 
haunting  wells  and  springs,  who  was  fond  of  beck- 
oning to  strangers.  If  they  came  to  him,  he  be- 
stowed gifts  upon  them ;  if  not,  he  never  seemed 
angry,  but  turned  patiently  to  wait  for  the  next 

There  was  a  curious  sea-creature  in  Norway, 
who  swam  about  as  a  thin  little  old  man  with  no 
head.  About  the  magical  Isle  of  Riigen  lived  the 
Nickel.  His  favorite  game  was  to  astonish  the  fish- 
ers, by  hauling  their  boats  up  among  the  trees. 

At  Aries  and  other  towns  near  the  Spanish  bor- 
der in  France,  were  the  Dracs,  who  inhabited  clear 
pools  and  streams,  and  floated  along  in  the  shape 
of  gold  rings  and  cups,  so  that  women  and  chil- 
dren bathing  should  grasp  them,  and  be  lured 

The  Indian  water-manittos,  the  Nibanaba,  were 
winning  in  appearance,  and  wicked  in  disposition. 
They,  joining  the  Pukwudjinies,  helped  to  kill 

In  Wales  were  the  Gwragedd  Annwn,  elves  who 
loved  the  stillness  of  lonely  mountain-lakes,  and 


who  seldom  ventured  into  the  upper  world.  They 
had  their  own  submerged  towns  and  battlements ; 
and  from  their  little  sunken  city  the  fairy-bells  sent 
out,  ever  and  anon,  mufifled  silver  voices.  The 
Gwragedd  Annwn  were  not  fishy-finned,  nor  were 
they  ever  dwellers  in  the  sea;  for  in  Wales  were 
no  mermaid-traditions,  nor  any  tales  of  those  who 
beguiled  mortals  — 

Under  the  glassy,  cool,  translucent  wave. 

The  Neck  and  the  Stromkarl  of  Swedish  rivers 
were  two  little  chaps  with  hardly  a  hair's  breadth 
of  difference.  Either  appeared  under  various 
shapes;  now  as  a  green-hatted  old  man  with  a  long 
beard,  out  of  which  he  wrung  water  as  he  sat  on  the 
cliffs  ;  now  loitering  of  a  summer  night  on  the  sur- 
face, like  a  chip  of  wood  or  a  leaf,  he  seemed  a  fair 
child,  harping,  with  yellow  ringlets  falling  from  be- 
neath a  high  red  cap  to  his  shoulders.  Both  fair- 
ies had  a  genius  for  music  ;  and  the  Stromkarl, 
especially,  had  one  most  marvellous  tune  to  which 
he  put  eleven  variations.  Now,  to  ten  of  them  any 
one  might  dance  decorously,  and  with  safety ;  but 

I04  "brownies  and  bogles. 

at  the  eleventh,  which  was  the  enchanted  one,  all 
the  world  went  mad ;  and  tables,  belfries,  benches, 
houses,  windmills,  trees,  horses,  cripples,  babies, 
ghosts,  and  whole  towns  full  of  sedate  citizens 
began  capering  on  the  banks  about  the  invisible 
player,  and  kept  it  up  in  furious  fashion  until  the 
last  note  died  away. 

You  know  that  the  wren  was  hunted  in  certain 
countries  on  a  certain  day.  Well,  here  is  one 
legend  about  her.  There  was  a  malicious  fairy 
once  in  the  Isle  of  Man,  very  winsome  to  look  at, 
who  worked  a  sorry  Kelpie-trick,  on  the  young  men 
of  the  town,  and  inveigled  them  into  the  sea,  where 
they  perished.  At  last  the  inhabitants  rose  in 
vengeance,  and  suspecting  her  of  causing  their  loss 
and  sorrow,  gave  her  chase  so  hard  and  fast  by 
land,  that  to  save  herself,  she  changed  her  shape 
into  that  of  an  innocent  brown  wren.  And  because 
she  had  been  so  treacherous,  a  spell  was  cast  upon 
her,  inasmuch  as  she  was  obliged  every  New  Year's 
Day  to  fly  about  as  that  same  bird,  until  she  should 
be  killed  by  a  human  hand.  And  from  sunrise  to 
sunset,  therefore,  on  the  first  bleak  day  of  Janu- 

WATER- FOLK.  105 

ary,  all  the  men  and  boys  of  the  island  fired  at  the 
poor  wrens,  and  stoned  them,  and  entrapped  them, 
in  the  hope  of  reaching  the  one  guilty  fairy  among 
them.  And  as  they  could  never  be  sure  that  they 
had  captured  the  right  one,  they  kept  on  year  by 
year,  chasing  and  persecuting  the  whole  flock.  But 
every  dead  wren's  feather  they  preserved  carefully, 
and  believed  that  it  hindered  them  from  drown- 
ing and  shipwreck  for  that  twelvemonth  ;  and  they 
took  the  feathers  with  them  on  voyages  great  and 
small,  in  order  that  the  bad  fairy's  magic  may 
never  be  able  to  prevail,  as  it  had  prevailed  of  yore 
with  their  unhappy  brothers. 

The  presence  of  the  sea-fairies  had  a  terror  in 
it,  and  against  their  arts  only  the  strongest  and 
most  watchful  could  hope  to  be  victorious.  Their 
sport  was  to  desolate  peaceful  homes,  and  bring 
destruction  on  gallant  ships.  They,  dwelling  in 
streams  and  in  the  ocean,  the  world  over,  were 
like  the  waters  they  loved  :  gracious  and  noble  in 
aspect,  and  meaning  danger  and  death  to  the 
unwary.  We  fear  that,  like  the  earth-fairies,  they 
were  heartless  quite. 



But  it  may  be  that  the  gentle  Nixies  had  only  a 
blind  longing  for  human  society,  and  would  not 
willingly  have  wrought  harm  to  the  creatures  of 
another  element.  We  are  more  willing  to  urge 
excuses  for  their  wrong-doing  than  for  the   like 


fault  in  our  frowzly  under-ground  folk ;  for  ugli- 
ness seems,  somehow,  not  so  shocking  when  allied 
with  evil  as  does  beauty,  which  was  destined  for 
all  men's  delight  and  uplifting.  As  the  air-elves 
had  their  Fairyland  whither  mortal  children  wan- 
dered, and  whence  they  returned  after  an  unmeas- 


ured  lapse  of  time,  still  children,  to  the  ivy-grown 
ruins  of  their  homes,  so  the  water-elves  had  a 
reward  for  those  they  snatched  from  earth ;  and 
legends  assure  us  the  wave-rocked  prisoners  a  hun- 
dred fathoms  down,  never  grew  old,  but  kept  the 
flush  of  their  last  morning  rosy  ever  on  their 

Among  a  little  community  full  of  guile,  there  is 
great  comfort  in  spotting  one  honest,  kind  water- 
boy,  who,  not  content  with  being  harmless,  as  were 
the  Flemish  and  Grecian  Nixies,  put  himself  to 
work  to  do  good,  and  charm  away  some  of  the  wor- 
ries and  ills  that  burdened  the  upper  world.  His 
name  was  Hob,  and  he  lived  in  Hobhole,  which 
was  a  cave  scooped  out  by  the  beating  tides  in  old 

The  lean  pockets  of  the  neighboring  doctors 
were  partly  attributed  to  this  benignant  little 
person  ;  for  he  set  up  an  opposition,  and  his 
specialty  was  the  cure  of  whooping-cough.  Many 
a  Scotch  mother  took  her  lad  or  lass  to  the  spray- 
covered  mouth  of  the  wise  goblin's  cave,  and  sang 
in  a  low  voice  : 

io8  "brownies  and  bogles." 

Hobhole  Hob ! 
Ma  bairn's  gotten  t'  kink-cough: 
Tak't  off !  tak't  off ! 

And  so  he  did,  sitting  there  with  his  toes  in 
the  sea.  For  Hobhole  Hob's  small  sake,  we  can 
afford  to  part  friends  with  the  whole  naughty  race 
of  water-folk. 



THE  fairy-fellows  who  made  a  regular  busi- 
ness of  mischief-making  seemed  to  have 
two  favorite  ways  of  setting  to  work.  They  either 
saddled  themselves  with  little  boys  and  spilled 
them,  sooner  or  later,  into  the  water,  or  else  they 
danced  along  holding  a  twinkling  light,  and  led 
any  one  so  foolish  as  to  follow  them  a  pretty  march 
into  chasms  and  quagmires.  Their  jokes  were 
grim  and  hurtful,  and  not  merely  funny,  like 
Brownie's ;  for  Brownie  usually  gave  his  victims 
(except  in  Molly  Jones's  case)  nothing  much 
worse  than  a  pinch.  So  people  came  to  have 
great  awe  and  horror  of  the  heartless  goblins  who 
waylaid  travellers,  and  left  them  broken-limbed  or 

Very  often  quarrelsome,  disobedient  or  vicious 


folk  fell  into  the  snare  of  a  Kelpie,  or  a  Will-o'-the- 
Wisp ;  for  the  little  whipper-snappers  had  a  fine 
eye  for  poetical  justice,  and  dealt  out  punishments 
with  the  nicest  discrimination.  We  never  hear 
that  they  troubled  good,  steady  mortals ;  but  only 
that  sometimes  they  beguiled  them,  for  sheer  love, 
into  Fairyland. 

We  know  that  all  "  ouphes  and  elves "  could 
change  their  shapes  at  will ;  therefore  when  we 
spy  fairy-horses,  fairy-lambs,  and  such  quadrupeds, 
we  guess  at  once  that  they  are  only  roguish  small 
gentlemen  masquerading.  Never  for  the  innocent 
fun  of  it,  either ;  but  alas !  to  bring  silly  persons 
to  grief. 

In  Hampshire,  in  England,  was  a  spirit  known 
as  Coltpixy,  which,  itself  shaped  like  a  miniature 
neighing  horse,  beguiled  other  horses  into  bogs 
and  morasses.  The  Irish  Pooka  or  Phooka  was 
a  horse  too,  and  a  famous  rascal.  He  lived  on 
land,  and  was  something  like  the  Welsh  Gwyll :  a 
tiny,  black,  wicked-faced  wild  colt,  with  chains 
dangling  about  him.  Again,  he  frisked  around  in 
the  shape  of  a  goat  or  a  bat.     Spenser  has  him : 


Ne  let  the  Pouke,  ne  other  evill  spright,  ,  .  . 
Ne  let  holjgoblins,  names  whose  sense  we  see  not, 
Fray  us  with  things  that  be  not." 

"  Fray,"  as  you  are  likely  to  guess,  means  to 
frighten  or  to  scare. 

THE    IRISH    POOKA    WAS    A    HORSE   TOO. 

Kelpies,  who  were  Scotch,  haunted  fords  and 
ferries,  especially  in  storms ;  allured  bystanders 
into  the  water,  or  swelled  the  river  so  that  it  broke 
the  roads,  and  overwhelmed  travellers. 

Very  like  them  were  the  Brag,  the  little  Shoopil- 


tree  of  the  Shetland  Islands,  and  the  Nick,  who 
was  the  Icelandic  Nykkur-horse  ;  gamesome  de- 
ceivers all,  who  enticed  children  and  others  to 
bestride  them,  and  who  were  treacherous  as  a 
quicksand,  every  time.  And  there  were  many 
more  of  the  Kelpie  kingdom,  of  whom  we  can 
hunt  up  no  clews. 

A  man  who  saw  a  Kelpie  gave  himself  up  for 
lost ;  for  he  was  sure,  by  hook  or  crook,  to  meet 
his  death  by  drowning.  Kelpie,  familiar  so  far 
away  as  China,  never  stayed  in  the  next-door  coun- 
tries, Ireland  or  England,  long  enough  to  be  rec- 
ognized. They  knew  nothing  of  him  by  sight,  nor 
of  the  Nix  his  cousin,  nor  of  anything  resembling 
them.  In  Ireland  lived  the  merrow ;  but  she  was 
only  an  amiable  mermaid. 

The  Japanese  had  a  water-dragon  called  Kappa, 
"  whose  office  it  was  to  swallow  bad  boys  who  went 
to  swim  in  disobedience  to  their  parents'  com- 
mands, and  at  improper  times  and  places."  In 
the  River  Tees  was  a  green-haired  lady  named 
Peg  Powler,  and  in  some  streams  in  Lancashire 
one    christened   Jenny  Greenteeth ;    two   hungry 



goblins  whose  only  delight  was  to  drown  and  de- 
vour unlucky  travellers.  But  we  know  already 
that  the  water-sprites  were  more  than  likely  so  to 

In  Provence  there  is  a  tale  told  of  seven  little 
boys  who  went  out  at  night  against  their  grand- 
mother's wishes.  A  little  dark  pony  came  prancing 
up  to  them,  and  the  youngest  clambered  on  his 
sleek  back,  and  after  him,  the  whole  seven,  one 
after  the  other,  which  was  quite  a  wonderful  weight 
for  the  wee  creature  ;  but  his  back  meanwhile  kept 
growing  longer  and  larger  to  accommodate  them. 
As  they  galloped  along,  the  children  called  such 
of  their  playmates  as  were  out  of  doors,  to  join 
them,  the  obliging  nag  stretching  and  stretching 
until  thirty  pairs  of  young  legs  dangled  at  his 
sides !  when  he  made  straight  for  the  sea,  and 
plunged  in,  and  drowned  them  all. 

The  Piskies,  or  Pigseys,  of  Cornwall,  were 
naughty  and  unsociable.  Their  great  trick  was 
to  entice  people  into  marshes,  by  making  them- 
selves look  like  a  light  held  in  a  man's  hand,  or 
a  light  in  a  friendly  cottage  window.     Pisky  also 

ii6  "brownies  and  bogles." 

rode  the  fanners'  colts  hard,  and  chased  the  farm- 
ers' cows.  For  all  his  diabolics,  you  had  to  excuse 
him  in  part,  when  you  heard  his  hearty  fearless 
laugh  ;  it  was  so  merry  and  sweet.  "  To  laugh  like 
a  Pisky,"  passed  into  a  proverb.  The  Barguest 
of  Yorkshire,  like  the  Osschaert  of  the  Nether- 
lands, was  an  open-air  bugaboo  whose  presence 
always  portended  disaster.  Sometimes  he  ap- 
peared as  a  horse  or  dog,  merely  to  play  the  old 
trick  with  a  false  light,  and  to  vanish,  laughing. 

The  Tuckebold  was  a  very  malicious  chap,  car- 
rying a  candle,  who  lived  in  Hanover ;  his  blood- 
relation  in  .Scandinavia  was  the  Lyktgubhe.  Over 
in  Flanders  and  Brabant  was  one  Kludde,  a  fellow 
whisking  here  and  there  as  a  half-starved  little 
mare,  or  a  cat,  or  a  frog,  or  a  bat ;  but  who  was 
always  accompanied  by  two  dancing  blue  flames, 
and  who  could  overtake  any  one  as  swiftly  as  a 
snake.  The  Ellydan  (dan  is  a  Welsh  word  mean- 
ing fire,  and  also  a  lure  or  a  snare :  a  luring  elf- 
fire)  was  a  rogue  with  wings,  wide  ears,  a  tall  cap 
and  two  huge  torches,  who  precisely  resembled 
the   English   Will-o'-the-Wisp,    the    Scandinavian 


Lyktgubhe  and  the  Breton  Sand  Yan  y  Tad.  Our 
American  negroes  make  him  out  Jack-muh-Lan- 
tern  :  a  vast,  hairy,  goggle-eyed,  big-mouthed  ogre, 
leaping  like  a  giant  grasshopper,  and  forcing  his 
victims  into  a  swamp,  where  they  died.  The  gen- 
tlemen of  this  tribe  preferred  to  walk  abroad  at 
night,  like  any  other  torchlight  procession.  Their 
little  bodies  were  invisible,  and  the  traveller  who 
hurried  towards  the  pleasant  lamp  ahead,  never 
knew  that  he  was  being  tricked  by  a  grinning  fairy, 
until  he  stumbled  on  the  brink  of  a  precipice,  or 
found  himself  knee-deep  in  a  bog.  Then  the 
brazen  little  guide  shouted  outright  with  glee,  put 
out  his  mysterious  flame,  and  somersaulted  off, 
leaving  the  poor  tourist  to  help  himself.  The  only 
way  to  escape  his  arts  was  to  turn  your  coat 
inside  out. 

You  may  guess  that  the  ungodly  wights  had 
plenty  of  fun  in  them,  by  this  anecdote  :  A  great 
many  Scotch  Jack-o'-Lanterns,  as  they  are  often 
called,  were  once  bothering  the  horse  belonging 
to  a  clergyman,  who  with  his  servant,  was  returning 
home  late  at  ni^ht.     The  horse  reared  and  whin- 



nied,  and  the  clergyman  was  alarmed,  for  a  thou- 
sand impish  fires  were  waltzing  before  the  wheels. 
Like  a  good  man,  he  began  to  pray  aloud,  to  no 
avail.  But  the  servant  just  roared  :  "  Wull  ye  be 
aff  noo,  in  the  deil's  name  !  "  and  sure  enough,  in 
a  wink,  there  was  not  a  goblin  within  gunshot. 


There  were  some  freakish  fairies  in  old  England, 
whose  names  were  Puckerel,  Hob  Rowland,  By- 
gorn,  Bogleboe,  Rawhead  or  Bloodybones ;  the 
last  two  were  certainly  scarers  of  nurseries. 

The  Boggart  was  a  little  spectre  who  haunted 
farms  and  houses,  like  Brownie  or  Nis ;  but  he 
was  usually  a  sorry  busybody,  tearing  the  bed-cur- 



tains,  rattling  the  doors,  whistling  through  the 
keyholes,  snatching  his  bread-and-butter  from  the 
baby,  playing  pranks  upon  the  servants,  and  doing 
all  manner  of  mischief. 

The  Dunnie,  in  Northumberland,  was  fond  of 
annoying  farm- 
ers. When  night 
came,  he  gave 
them  and  him- 
self a  rest,  and 
hung  his  long 
legs  over  the 
crags,  whistling 
and  banging  his 
idle  heels.  Red 
Comb  or  Bloody 
Cap  was  a  ty- 
rant   who    lived 


in  every  Border  castle,  dungeon  and  tower.  He 
was  short  and  thickset  long-toothed  and  skinny- 
fingered,  with  big  red  eyes,  grisly  flowing  hair, 
and  iron  boots;  a  pikestaff  in  his  left  hand,  and 
a  red  cap  on  his  ugly  head. 


The  village  of  Hedley,  near  Ebchester,  in  Eng- 
land, was  haunted  by  a  churlish  imp  known  far 
and  wide  as  the  Hedley  Gow.  He  took  the  form 
of  a  cow,  and  amused  himself  at  milking-time  with 
kicking  over  the  pails,  scaring  the  maids,  and  call- 
ing the  cats,  of  whom  he  was  fond,  to  lick  up  the 
cream.  Then  he  slipped  the  ropes  and  vanished, 
with  a  great  laugh.  In  Northern  Germany  we  find 
the  Hedley  Gow's  next-of-kin,  and  there,  too,  were 
little  underground  beings  who  accompanied  maids 
and  men  to  the  milking,  and  drank  up  what  was 
spilt ;  but  if  nothing  happened  to  be  spilt  in 
measuring  out  the  quarts,  they  got  angry,  over- 
turned the  pails,  and  ran  away.  These  jacka- 
napes were  a  foot  and  a  half  high,  and  dressed  in 
black,  with  red  caps. 

Many  ominous  fairies,  such  as  the  Banshee,  por- 
tended misfortune  and  death.  The  Banshee  had 
a  high  shrill  voice,  and  long  hair.  Once  in  a 
while  she  seemed  to  be  as  tall  as  an  ordinary 
woman,  very  thin,  with  head  uncovered,  and  a 
floating  white  cloak,  wringing  her  hands  and  wail- 
ing.    She  attached  herself  only  to  certain  ancient 


Irish  families,  and  cried  under  their  windows  when 
one  of  their  race  was  sick,  and  doomed  to  die. 
But  she  scorned  families  who  had  a  dash  of  Saxon 
and  Norman  ancestry,  and  would  have  nothing  to 
do  with  them. 

Every  single  fairy  that  ever  was  known  to  the 
annals  of  this  world  was,  at  times,  a  mischief- 
maker.  He  could  no  more  keep  out  of  mischief 
than  a  trout  out  of  water.  What  lives  the  dandi- 
prats  led  our  poor  great-great-great-great  grand- 
sires  !     As  a  very  clever  living  writer  put  it : 

"  A  man  could  not  ride  out  without  risking  an  encounter 
with  a  Puck  or  a  Will-o'-the  Wisp.  He  could  not  approach 
a  stream  in  safety  unless  he  closed  his  ears  to  the  sirens' 
songs,  and  his  eyes  to  the  fair  form  of  the  mermaid.  In  the 
hillside  were  the  dwarfs,  in  the  forest  Queen  Mab  and  her 
court.  Brownie  ruled  over  him  in  his  house,  and  Robin 
Goodfellow  in  his  walks  and  wanderings.  From  the  moment 
a  Christian  came  into  the  world  until  his  departure  there- 
from, he  was  at  the  mercy  of  the  fairy-folk,  and  his  devices 
to  elude  them  were  many.  Unhappy  was  the  mother  who 
neglected  to  lay  a  pair  of  scissors  or  of  tongs,  a  knife  or  her 
husband's  breeches,  in  the  cradle  of  her  new-born  infant ; 
for  if  she  forgot,  then  was  she  sure  to  receive  a  changeling 
in  its  place.  Great  was  the  loss  of  the  child  to  whose  bap- 
tism the  fairies  were  not  invited,  or  the  bride  to  whose  wed- 


ding  the  Nix,  or  water-spirit,  was  not  bidden.  If  the  inhabi- 
tants of  Thale  did  not  throw  a  black  cock  annually  into  the 
Bode,  one  of  them  was  claimed  as  his  lawful  victim  by  the 
Nickelmann  dwelling  in  that  stream.  The  Russian  peasant 
who  failed  to  present  the  Rusalka  or  water-sprite  he  met  at 
Whitsuntide,  with  a  handkerchief,  or  a  piece  torn  from  his 
or  her  clothing,  was  doomed  to  death." 

One  had  to  be  ever  on  the  lookout  to  escape 
the  sharp  little  immortals,  whose  very  kindness  to 
men  and  women  was  a  species  of  coquetry,  and 
who  never  spared  their  friends'  feelings  at  the  ex- 
pense of  their  own  saucy  delight. 


PUCK  ;    AND    rOETS'    FAIRIES. 

PUCK,  as  we  said,  is  Shakespeare's  fairy. 
There  is  some  probability  that  he  found  in 
Cwm  Pwca,  or  Puck  Valley,  a  part  of  the  roman- 
tic glens  of  Clydach,  in  Breconshire,  the  original 
scenes  of  his  fanciful  Midsummer  Nighfs  Dream. 
This  glen  used  to  be  crammed  with  goblins.  There, 
and  in  many  like-named  Welsh  places.  Puck's 
pranks  were  well-remembered  by  old  inhabitants. 
This  Welsh  Puck  was  a  queer  little  figure,  long  and 
grotesque,  and  looked  something  like  a  chicken 
half  out  of  his  shell ;  at  least,  so  a  peasant  drew 
him,  from  memory,  with  a  bit  of  coal.  Pvvcca,  or 
Pooka,  in  Wales,  was  but  another  name  for  Elly- 
dan  ;  and  his  favorite  joke  was  also  to  travel  along 
before  a  wayfarer,  with  a  lantern  held  over  his 
head,  leading  miles  and  miles,  until  he  got  to 

124  "brownies  and  bogles. 

the  brink  of  a  precipice.  Then  the  little  wretch 
sprang  over  the  chasm,  shouted  with  wicked  glee, 
blew  out  his  lantern,  and  left  the  startled  traveller 
to  reach  home  as  best  he  could.  Old  Reginald 
Scott  must  have  had  this  sort  of  a  Puck  in  mind 
when  he  put  Kitt-with-the-Candlestick,  whose  iden- 
tity troubled  the  critics  much,  in  his  catalogue  of 
"  bugbears." 

The  very  old  word  Pouke  meant  the  devil, 
horns,  tail,  and  all ;  from  that  word,  as  it  grew 
more  human  and  serviceable,  came  the  Pixy  of 
Devonshire,  the  Irish  Phooka,  the  Scottish  Bogle, 
and  the  Boggart  in  Yorkshire ;  and  even  one  nur- 
sery-tale title  of  Bugaboo.  Oddest  of  all,  the 
name  Pug,  which  we  give  now  to  an  amusing  race 
of  small  dogs,  is  an  e very-day  reminder  of  poor 
lost  Puck,  and  of  the  queer  changes  which,  through 
a  century  or  two,  may  befall  a  word.  Puck  was  con- 
sidered court-jester,  a  mild,  comic,  playful  creature  : 

A  little  random  elf 
Born  in  the  sport  of  Nature,  like  a  weed, 
For  simple  sweet  enjoyment  of  myself, 
Hut  for  no  other  purpose,  worth  or  need ; 
And  yet  withal  of  a  most  happy  breed. 

PUCK;     AND    poets'    FAIRIES.  1 25 

But  he  kept  to  the  last  his  character  of  practical 
joker,  and  his  alliance  with  his  grim  little  cousins, 
the  I.yktgubhe  and  the  Kludde,  Glorious  old 
Michael  Drayton  made  a  verse  of  his  naughty 
tricks,  which  you  shall  hear  : 

This  Puck  seems  but  a  dreaming  dolt, 
Still  walking  like  a  ragged  colt, 
And  oft  out  of  a  bush  doth  bolt 
On  purpose  to  deceive  us; 
And  leading  us,  makes  us  to  stray 
Long  winter  nights  out  of  the  way; 
And  when  we  stick  in  mire  and  clay, 
He  doth  with  laughter  leave  us. 

Shakespeare,  who  calls  him  a  "merry  wanderer 
of  the  night,"  and  allows  him  to  fly  "  swifter  than 
arrow  from  the  Tartar's  bow,"  was  the  first  to 
make  Puck  into  a  house  spirit.  The  poets  were 
especially  attentive  to  the  offices  of  these  house- 

According  to  them,  Mab  and  Puck  do  every- 
thing in-doors  which  we  think  characteristic  of  a 
Brownie.  William  Browne,  born  in  Tavistock,  in 
the  county  of  Devon,  where  the  Pixies  lived,  pret- 
tily puts  it  how  the  fairj'-queen  did  — 


"brownies  and  bogles." 

command  her  elves 

To  pinch  those  maids  that  had  not  swept  their  shelves; 
And  further,  if  by  maiden's  oversight, 
Within  doors  water  was  not  brought  at  night, 


Or  if  they  spread  no  table,  set  no  bread. 
They  should  have  nips  from  toe  unto  the  head  ! 
And  for  the  maid  who  had  performed  each  thing 
She  in  the  water-pail  bade  leave  a  ring. 

Herrick  confirms  what  we  have  just  heard 



If  ye  will  with  Mab  find  grace, 
Set  each  platter  in  its  place ; 
Rake  the  fire  up,  and  get 
Water  in  ere  the  sun  be  set ; 
Wash  your  pails,  and  cleanse  your  dairies; 
Sluts  are  loathsome  to  the  fairies! 
Sweep  your  house :  who  doth  not  so, 
Mab  will  pinch  her  by  the  toe. 

John  Lyly,  in  his  very  beautiful  May  lie's  Meta- 
morphosis has  this  charming  fairy  song,  which 
takes  us  out  to  tlie  grass,  and  the  soft  night  air, 
and  the  softer  starshine  : 

Hy    the   moon    we 

sport  and  play ; 
With   the  night  be- 
gins our  day ; 
As    we    dance,   the 

dew  doth  fall. 
Trip  it,  little  urchins 

Lightly  as  the  little 

Two    by    two,    and 

three  by  three, 
And   about   go  we, 

and  about  go  we. 


What  a  picture  of  the  wee  tribe  at  their  revels! 
Here  is  another,  from  Ben  Jonson's  Sad  Slieplieni : 

128  "brownies  and  bogles." 

Span-long  elves  that  dance  about  a  pool, 
With  each  a  little  changeling  in  her  arms. 

In  what  is  thought  to  be  Lyly's  play,  just  men- 
tioned, Mopso,  Joculo,  and  Prisio  have  something 
in  the  way  of  a  pun  for  each  fairy  they  address : 

Mop.  :     I  pray  you,  what  might  I  call  you  } 
\st  Fairy :     My  name  is  Penny. 
Mop.  :     I  am  sorry  I  cannot  purse  you ! 
Pris.  :     I  pray  you,  sir,  what  might  I  call  you.' 
zd  Fairy :     My  name  is  Cricket. 

(Mr.  Keightley  says  that  the  Crickets  were  a 
family  of  great  note  in  Fairyland :  many  poets 
celebrated  them.) 

Pris. :     I  would  I  were  a  chimney  for  your  sake  ! 

Joe.  :  I  pray  you,  you  pretty  little  fellow,  what's  youi 
name  ? 

yi  Fairy :     My  name  is  Little  Little  Prick. 

/oc:  Little  Little  Prick!  O  you  are  a  dangerous  fairy, 
and  fright  all  the  little  wenches  in  the  country  out  of  their 
beds.  I  care  not  whose  hand  I  were  in,  so  I  were  out  of 

Drayton,  again,  gives  us  a  list  of  tinkling  elfin- 
ladies'  names,  which  are  pleasant  to  hear  as  the 
drip  of  an  icicle  : 

PUCK;   AND  poets'  fairies. 

Hop  and  Mop  and  Drop  so  clear, 
Pip  and  Trip  and  Skip  that  were 
To  Mab  their  sovereign  ever  dear, 
Her  special  maidsof-honor : 

Pib  and  Tib  and  Pinck  and  Pin, 
Tick  and  Quick,  and  Jil  and  Jin, 
Tit  and  Nit,  and  Wap  and  Win, 
The  train  that  wait  upon  her ! 


"BY    THE    MOON    WE   SPORT    AND    PLAY." 

Young  Randolph  has  an  equally  delightful  ac- 
count in  the  pastoral  drama  of  Amymtas,  of  his  wee 
folk  orchard- robbing ;  whose  chorused  Latin  Leigh 
Hunt  thus  translates,  roguishly  enough : 

130  "  BROWNIES   AND   BOGLES.*' 

We  the  fairies  blithe  and  antic, 
Of  dimensions  not  gigantic, 
Tho'  the  moonshine  mostly  keep  us. 
Oft  in  orchard  frisk  and  peep  us. 

Stolen  sweets  are  always  sweeter; 
Stolen  kisses  much  completer ; 
Stolen  looks  are  nice  in  chapels ; 
Stolen,  stolen,  be  our  apples  I 

When  to  bed  the  world  is  bobbing, 
Then's  the  time  for  orchard-robbing : 
Yet  the  fruit  were  scarce  worth  peeling. 
Were  it  not  for  stealing,  stealing ! 

You  will  notice  that  Shakespeare  places  his 
Gothic  goblins  in  the  woods  about  Athens,  a  place 
where  real  fairies  never  set  their  rose- leaf  feet, 
but  where  once  sported  yet  lovelier  Dryads  and 
Naiads.  These  dainty  British  Greeks  are  very 
small  indeed :  Titania  orders  them  to  make  war 
on  the  rear-mice,  and  make  coats  of  their  leathern 
wings.  Mercutio's  Queen  Mab  is  scarce  bigger 
than  a  snowflake.  Prospero,  in  The  Tempest,  com- 
mands, besides  his  "  delicate  Ariel,"  all 

—    elves  of  hills,  brooks,  standing  lakes,  and  groves. 


The  make-believe  fairies  in  The  Merry  Wives 
know  how  to  pinch  offenders  black  and  blue.  The 
shepherd,  in  the  Winter's  Tale,  takes  the  baby 
Perdita  for  a  changeling.  So  that  all  the  Shakes- 
peare people  seem  wise  in  goblin-lore. 

You  see  that  we  have  looked  for  the  literature 

of  our  pretty  friends  only  among  the  old  poets,  and 

only  English  poets  at  that;  but  the  foreign  fairies 

are  no  less  charming.    Chaucer  and  Spenser  loved 

the  brood  especially.     Robert  Herrick  knew  all 


—    the  elves  also, 
Whose  little  eyes  glow    ; 

Sidney  smiled  on  them  once  or  twice,  and  great 
Milton  could  spare  them  a  line  out  of  his  majestic 
verse.  But  the  high-tide  of  their  praise  was  ebb- 
ing already  when  Dryden  and  Pope  were  writing. 
Lesser  poets  than  any  of  these,  Parnell  and  Tickell, 
wrote  fairy  tales,  but  they  lack  the  relish  of  the 
honeyed  rhymes  Drayton,  Lyly,  and  supreme 
Shakespeare,  give  us.  Keats  was  drawn  to  them, 
though  he  has  left  us  but  sweet  and  brief  proof  of 
it ;  and  Thomas  Hood,  of  all  gentle  modern  poets. 



has  done  most  for  the  "  small  foresters  and  gay." 
In  prose  the  fairies  are  "  famoused  "  east  and  west ; 
for  which  they  may  sing  their  loudest  canticle  to 
the  good  Brothers  Grimm,  in  Fairyland.  The 
arts  have  been  their  handmaids  ;  and  some  of  this 


world's  most  lovable  spirits  have  delighted  to  do 
them  merry  honor:  Mendelssohn  in  his  quicksil- 
ver orchestral  music,  and  dear  Richard  Doyle  in 
the  quaintest  drawings  that  ever  fell,  laughing, 
from  a  pencil-point. 



KIDNAPPING  was  a  favorite  pastime  with 
our  small  friends,  and  a  great  many  rea- 
sons concurred  to  make  it  a  necessary  and  thriv- 
ing trade.  We  are  told  that  both  the  Tylwyth 
Teg  and  the  Kerrigans  had  a  fear  that  their  frail 
race  was  dying  out,  and  sought  to  steal  hearty 
young  children,  and  leave  the  wee,  bright,  sickly 
"changeling,"  or  ex-changeling,  in  its  place. 
That  sounds  like  a  quibble  ;  for  we  know  that  fai- 
ries were  free  from  the  shadow  of  death,  and 
could  not  possibly  dread  any  lessening  of  their 
numbers  from  the  old,  old  cause.  Yet  we 
saw  that  the  air-elves  held  pitched  battles,  and 
murdered  one  another  like  gallant  soldiers,  from 
the  world's  beginning ;  and  again  comes  a  strag- 
gling little  proof  to  make  us  suspect  that  they  had 

134  "brownies  and  bogles. 

not  quite  the  immortality  they  boasted.  However, 
we  pass  it  by,  sure  at  least  that  the  philosopher 
who  first  observed  the  merry  goblins  to  be  at  bot- 
tom wavering  and  disconsolate,  recognized  an  in- 
stance of  it  in  this  pathetic  eagerness  to  adopt 
babies  not  their  own.  Fairy-folk  were  believed, 
in  general,  to  have  power  over  none  but  unbap- 
tized  children. 

A  tradition  older  and  wider  than  the  Tylwj'th 
Teg's  runs  .that  a  yearly  tribute  was  due  from 
Fairyland  to  the  prince  of  the  infernal  regions,  as 
poor  King  ^Egeus  had  once  to  pay  Minos  of  Crete 
with  the  seven  fair  boys  and  girls ;  and  that,  for 
the  sake  of  sparing  their  own  dear  ones,  the  little 
beings,  in  their  fantastic  dress,  flew  east  and  west 
on  an  anxious  hunt  for  human  children,  who  might 
be  captured  and  delivered  over  to  bondage 
instead.  And  they  crept  cautiously  to  many  a 
cradle,  and  having  secured  the  sleeping  innocent, 
"plucked  the  nodding  nurse  by  the  nose,"  as 
Ben  Jonson  said,  and  vanished  with  a  scream  of 
triumphant  laughter.  Welsh  fairies  have  been 
caught  in  the  very  act  of  the  theft,  and  a  pretty 


fight  they  made,  every  time,  to  keep  their  booty  ; 
but  the  strength  of  a  man  or  a  woman,  was,  of 
course,  too  much  for  them  to  resist  long. 

Now,  whenever  a  mother,  who,  you  may  count 
upon  it,  thought  her  own  urchin  most  beautiful  of 
all  under  the  moon,  found  him  growing  cross  and 
homely,  in  despite  of  herself,  she  suddenly  awoke 
to  this  view  of  the  case  :  that  the  dwindled  babe 
was  her  babe  no  longer,  but  a  miserable  young 
gosling  from  Fairyland  slipped  into  its  place.  A 
miserable  young  foreign  gosling  it  was  from  that 
hour,  though  it  had  her  own  grandfather's  special 
kiixl  of  a  nose  on  its  unmistakable  face. 

The  discovery  always  made  a  great  sensation ; 
people  came  from  the  surrounding  villages  to 
wonder  at  the  lean,  gaping,  knowing-eyed  small 
stranger  in  the  crib,  and  to  propose  all  sorts  of 
charms  which  should  rid  the  house  of  his  presence, 
and  restore  the  rightful  heir  again.  They  were 
not  especially  polite  to  the  poor  changeling.  In 
Denmark,  and  in  Ireland  as  well,  they  dandled 
him  on  a  hot  shovel !  If  he  were  really  a  change- 
ling, the  fairies,  rather  than  see  him  singed,  were 

136  "brownies  and  bogles." 

sure  to  appear  in  a  violent  fluster  and  whisk  him 
away,  and  at  the  same  minute  to  drop  its  former 
owner  plump  into  the  cradle.  And  if  it  were 
not  a  changeling,  how  did  those  queer  by-gone 
mammas  know  when  to  stop  the  broiling  and 

Mr.  George  Waldron,  who  in  1726  wrote  an  en- 
tertaining Description  of  the  Isle  of  Man,  recorded 
it  that  he  once  went  to  see  a  baby  supposed  to  be 
a  changeling  ;■  that  it  seemed  to  be  four  or  five 
years  old,  but  smaller  than  an  infant  of  six  months, 
pale,  and  silky-haired,  and  (what  was  unusual) 
with  the  fairest  face  under  heaven  ;  that  it  was 
not  able  to  walk  nor  to  move  a  joint,  seldom  smiled, 
ate  scarcely  anything,  and  never  spoke  nor  cried  ; 
but  that  if  you  called  it  a  fairy-elf,  it  fixed  its  gaze 
on  you  as  if  it  would  look  you  through.  If  it  were 
left  alone,  it  was  overheard  laughing  and  frolick- 
ing, and  when  it  was  taken  up  after,  limp  as  cloth, 
its  hair  was  found  prettily  combed,  and  there  were 
signs  that  it  had  been  washed  and  dressed  by  its 
unseen  playfellows. 

The  main  point  to  put  the  family  mind  at  rest 



on  the  matter,  was  to  make  the  changeling  "  own 
up,"  force  him  to  do  something  which  no  tender 
mortal  in  socks  and  bibs  ever  was  able  to  do,  such 
as  dance,  prophesy,  or  manage  a  musical  instru- 
ment. There  was  an  Irish  changeling,  the  young- 
est of  five  sons, 
who,  being  teased, 
snatched  a  bagpipe 
from  a  visitor,  and 
played  upon  it  in  the 
most  accomplished 
and  melting  manner, 
sitting  up  in  his 
wooden  chair,  his 
big  goggle-eyes  fixed 
on  the  company. 
And  when  he  knew 


he  was  found  out,  he  sprang,  bagpipe  and  all,  into 
the  river ;  which  leads  one  to  suspect  that  he  was 
a  sort  of  stray  Stromkarl. 

The  Welsh  fairies  had  good  taste,  and  admired 
wholesome  and  handsome  children.  They  stole 
such  often,   and   left  for  substitute   the  plentyn- 

138  "brownies  and  bogles." 

newid  (the  change-child)  who  at  first  was  exactly 
like  the  absent  nursling,  but  soon  grew  ugly,  shriv- 
elled, biting,  wailing,  cunning  and  ill-tempered. 
In  the  hope  of  proving  whether  it  were  a  fairy- 
waif  or  not,  people  put  the  little  creature  to  such 
hard  tests,  that  sometimes  it  nearly  died  of  acquaint- 
ance with  a  rod,  or  an  oven,  or  a  well. 

If  the  bereaved  parent  did  some  very  astonish- 
ing thing  in  plain  view  of  the  wonder-chick,  that 
would  generally  entrap  it  into  betraying  its  secrets. 
A  French  changeling  was  once  moved  unawares 
to  sing  out  that  it  was  nine  hundred  years  old,  at 
least!  In  Wales,  and  also  in  Brittainy  (which  are 
sister-countries  of  one  race)  the  following  story  is 
current :  A  mother  whose  infant  had  been  spirited 
away,  and  who  was  much  perplexed  over  what  she 
took  to  be  a  changeling,  was  advised  to  cook  a 
meal  for  ten  farm-servants  in  one  egg-shell.  When 
the  queer  little  creature,  burning  with  curiosity, 
asked  her  from  his  high-chair  what  she  was  about, 
she  could  hardly  answer,  so  excited  was  she  to 
hear  him  speak.  At  that  he  cried  louder  :  "  A 
meal  for  ten,  dear  mother,  in  one  egg-shell  ?    The 



acorn  before  the  oak  have  I  seen,  and  the  wilder- 
ness before  the  lawn,  but  never  did  I  behold  any- 
thing like  that !  "  and  so  gave  damaging  evidence 
of  his  age  and  his  unlucky  wisdom.  And  the 
woman  replied  :  "  You  have  seen  altogether  too 
much,  my  son,  and  you  shall  have  a  beating !  " 
And  thereupon  she  began  to  thrash  him,  until  he 
screeched,  and  a  fairy  appeared  hurriedly  to  rescue 
him,  and  in  the  crib  lay  the  round,  rosy,  real  child, 
who  had  been  missing  a  long  while. 

Now  the  "  gentry  "  of  modern  Greece  had  an 
eye  also  to  clever  children  ;  but  they  almost 
always  brought  them  back,  laden  with  gifts,  lovelier 
in  person  than  when  they  were  taken  from  home. 
And  if  they  appointed  a  changeling  in  the  mean- 
time (which  they  were  not  very  apt  to  do)  it  never 
showed  its  elfin  nature  until  it  was  quite  grown  up ! 
unlike  the  uncanny  goblins  who  were  all  too 
ready  from  the  first  to  give  autobiographies  on  the 
slightest  hint. 

The  Drows  of  the  Orkney  Islands  fancied  larger 
game.  They  used  to  stalk  in  among  church  con- 
gregations and  carry  off  pious  deacons  and  deacon- 

142  "brownies  and  bogles." 

esses  !  So  wrote  one  Lucas  Jacobson  Debes,  in 

In  a  pretty  Scotch  tale,  a  sly  fairy  threatened  to 
steal  the  "  lad  bairn,"  unless  the  mother  could  tell 
the  fairy's  right  name.  The  latter  was  a  complete 
stranger,  and  the  woman  was  sore  worried  ;  and 
went  to  walk  in  the  woods  to  ease  her  anxious  and 
aching  heart,  and  to  think  over  some  means  of 
outwitting  the  enemy  of  her  boy.  And  presently 
she  heard  a  faint  voice  singing  under  a  leaf : 

Little  kens  the  glide  dame  at  hame 
That  Whuppity  Stoorie  is  ma  name  ! 

When  the  smart  lady  in  green  came  to  take  the 
beautiful  "  lad  bairn,"  the  mother  quietly  called 
her  "  Whuppity  Stoorie  !  "  and  off  she  hurried  with 
a  cry  of  fear ;  like  the  Austrian  dwarf  Kruzi- 
miigeli,  the  "  dear  Ekke  Nekkepem  "  of  Friesland, 
and  many  another  who  tried  to  play  the  same 
trick,  and  who  were  always  themselves  the  means 
of  telling  mortals  the  very  names  they  would  con- 

Fairy-folk  young  and  old  were  coquettish  enough 



about  their  names,  and  greatly  preferred  they 
should  not  be  spoken  outright.  This  habit  got 
them  into  many  a  scrape.  The  anecdote  of  "  Who 
hurt  you  ?     Myself !  "  was  told  in  Spain,  Finland, 


Brittainy,  Japan,  and  a  dozen  other  kingdoms,  and 
seems  to  be  as  old  as  the  Odyssey.  Do  you  re- 
member where  Ulysses  tells  the  Cyclop  that  his 
name  is  Outis,  which  means  Nobody  ?  and  how, 
after  the  eye  of  the  wicked  Polyphemus  has  been 



put  out,  the  comrades  of  the  big  blinded  fellow  ask 
him  who  did  the  deed,  and  he  growls  back,  very 
sensibly  :  "  Nobody  !  "  Consider  what  follows  a 
typical  modern  version  of  the  same  trick. 

A  young  Scotch  child,  whom  we  will  call  Alan, 

sits  by  the  fire,  when  a  pretty  creature  the  size  oE 
a  doll,  waltzes  down  the  chimney  to  the  hearth, 
and  begins  to  frolic.  When  asked  its  name  it  says 
shrewdly :  "  Ainsel "  ;  which  to  the  boy  sounds 
like  what  it  really  is,  "  Ownself,"  and  makes  him. 


when  it  is  his  turn  to  be  questioned,  as  saucy  and 
reticent  as  he  supposes  his  elfin  playfellow  to  be. 
So  Alan  tells  the  sprite  that  his  name  is  "  J/y 
Ainsel,"  and  gets  the  better  of  it.  For  bye-and- 
bye  they  wax  very  frisky  and  friendly,  and  right 
in  the  middle  of  their  sport,  when  little  Alan 
pokes  the  fire,  and  gets  a  spark  by  chance  on 
Ainsel's  foot,  and  when  he  roars  with  pain,  and 
the  old  fairy-mother  appears  instantly,  crying  an- 
grily :  "  Who  has  hurt  thee  ?  Who  has  hurt  thee  ? " 
the  elf  blurts,  of  course,  "  My  Ainsel ! "  and  she 
kicks  him  unceremoniously  up  chimney,  and  bids 
him  stop  whimpering,  since  the  burn  was  of  his 
own  silly  doing!  Alan,  meanwhile,  climbs  up- 
stairs to  bed,  rejoicing  to  escape  the  vengeance  of 
the  fairy-mother,  and  chuckling  in  his  sleeve  at 
the  funny  turn  things  have  taken. 



"  And  never  would  I  tire,  Janet, 
In  Fairyland  to  dwell." 

SO  runs  the  song.  Who  would  weary  of  so 
sweet  a  place  ?  At  least,  we  think  of  it  as 
a  sweet  place ;  but  like  this  own  world  of  ours,  it 
was  whatever  a  man's  eyes  made  it ;  good  and 
gracious  to  the  good,  troublous  to  the  evil.  Ac- 
cording to  an  old  belief,  a  mean  or  angry,  or  un- 
truthful person,  always  exposed  himself,  by  the 
very  violence  of  his  wrong-doing,  to  become  an 
inmate  of  Fairyland ;  and  for  such  a  one,  it  could 
not  have  been  all  sunshine.  A  foot  set  upon  the 
fairy-ring  was  enough  to  cause  a  mortal  to  be 
whisked  off,  pounded,  pinched,  bewildered,  and 
left  far  from  home.  It  was  a  strange  experience, 
and  it  is  recorded  that  it  befell  many  a  lad  and 


maid  to  be  loosed  from  earth,  and  cloistered  for 
uncounted  years,  to  return,  like  our  Catskill  hero, 
Rip  Van  Winkle,  after  what  he  supposes  to  be  a 
little  time,  and  to  find  that  generations  had  f>assed 
away.  For  those  absent  took  no  thought  of  time's 
passing,  and  on  reaching  earth  again,  would  begin 
where  their  lips  had  dropped  a  sentence  half- 
spoken,  a  hundred  years  before.  Tales  of  such 
truants  are  common  the  world  over. 

Gitto  Bach  (little  Griffith)  was  a  Welsh  farmer's 
boy,  who  looked  after  sheep  on  the  mountain-top. 
When  he  came  home  at  evenfall  he  often  showed 
his  brothers  and  sisters  bits  of  paper  stamped  like 
money.  Now  when  it  was  given  to  him,  it  was 
real  money;  but  the  fairy-gifts  would  not  bear 
handling,  and  turned  useless  and  limp  as  soon  as 
Gitto  showed  them.  One  day  he  did  not  return. 
After  two  years  his  mother  found  him  one  morning 
at  the  door,  smiling,  and  with  a  bundle  under  his 
arm.  She  asked  him,  with  many  tears,  where  he 
had  been  so  long,  while  they  had  mourned  for  him 
as  dead.  "It  is  only  yesterday  I  went  away!" 
said  Gitto.    "  See  the  pretty  clothes  the  mountain- 



children  gave  me,  for  dancing  with  them  to  the 
music  of  their  harps."  And  he  opened  his  bundle, 
and  showed  a  beautiful  dress :  but  his  mother  saw 
it  was  only  paper,  after  all,  like  the  fairy  money. 


Our  pretty  friends  enjoyed  beguiling  mortals  into 
their  shining  underworld,  with  song,  and  caresses, 
and  winning  promises.  Once  the  mortal  entered, 
he  met  with  warm  welcomes  from  all,  and  the  most 
exquisite  meat  and  drink  were  set  before  him. 



Now,  if  he  had  but  the  courage  to  refuse  it,  he 
soon  found  himself  back  on  earth,  whence  he  was 
stolen.  But  if  he  yielded  to  temptation,  and  his 
tongue  tasted  fairy  food,  he  could  never  behold 
his  native  hills  again  for  years  and  years.  And 
when,  after  that  exquisite  imprisonment,  he  should 
be  torn  from  his  delights  and  set  back  at  his  father's 


door,  he  should  find  his  memory  almost  forgotten, 
and  others  sitting  with  a  claim  in  his  empty  seat. 
And  he  should  not  remember  how  long  he  had 
been  missing,  but  grow  silent  and  depressed,  and 
sit  for  hours,  with  dreamy  eyes,  on  lonely  slopes 
and  wildwood  bridges,  not  desiring' fellowship  of 
any  soul  alive  ;  but  with  a  heartache  always  for  his 

150  "brownies  and  bogles. 

little  lost  playfellows,  and  for  that  bright  country 
far  away,  until  he  died. 

Often  the  creature  who  has  once  stood  in  the 
courts  of  Fairyland,  is  placed  under  vow,  when 
released,  and  allowed  to  visit  the  earth,  to  come 
back  at  call,  and  abide  there  always.  For  the 
spell  of  that  place  is  so  strong,  no  heart  can  es- 
cape it,  nor  wish  to  escape  it.  Thus  ends  the  old 
romance  of  Thomas  the  Rhymer:  that,  at  the  end 
of  seven  years,  he  was  freed  from  Fairyland,  made 
wise  beyond  all  men  ;  but  he  was  sworn  to  return 
whenever  the  summons  should  reach  him.  And 
once  as  he  was  making  merry  with  his  chosen  com- 
rades, a  hart  and  a  hind  moved  slowly  along  the 
village  street ;  and  he  knew  the  sign,  laid  down 
his  glass,  and  smiled  farewell ;  and  followed  them 
straightway  into  the  strange  wood,  never  to  be 
seen  more  by  mortal  eyes. 

A  wonderful  and  beautiful  Japanese  story,  too, 
the  ancient  Taketori  Monogatari,  written  in  the 
first  half  of  the  tenth  century,  tells  us  how  a  grey- 
haired  bamboo-gatherer  found  in  a  bamboo-blade 
a  radiant  elf-baby,  and  kindly  took  it  home  to  his 


wife  ;  and  because  of  their  great  and  ready  gener- 
osity to  the  waif,  the  gods  made  them  thrive  in 
purse  and  health ;  and  how,  when  the  little  one 
had  been  with  them  three  months,  Kaguyahime, 
for  that  was  she,  grew  suddenly  to  a  tall  and  fair 
girl,  and  so  remained  unchanging,  for  twenty 
years,  while  five  gallant  Japanese  lords  were  doing 
her  strange  commands,  and  running  risks  the  world 
over.  Then,  though  the  emperor,  also,  was  her 
suitor,  and  though  she  was  unspeakably  fond  of 
her  old  foster-parents,  and  grieved  to  go  from 
them,  she,  being  a  moon-maid,  went  back  in  her 
chariot  one  glorious  night  to  her  shining  home, 
whence  she  had  been  banished  for  some  old  fault, 
and  whither  the  love  and  longing  and  homage  of 
all  the  land  pursued  her. 

Many  sweet  wild  Welsh  and  Cornish  legends 
deal  with  shepherds  and  yeomen  who  set  foot  on 
a  fairy  mound  by  chance,  or  who,  in  some  other 
fashion,  were  transplanted  to  the  realm  of  the 
dancing,  feasting  elves.  But  they  have  a  pathetic 
ending,  since  no  wanderer  ever  strayed  back  with 
all  his  old  wits  sound  and  sharp.     He  seemed  as 


"brownies  and  bogles," 

one  who  walked  in  sleep,  and  had  no  care  or  rec- 
ognition for  the  faces  that  once  he  held  dear. 
And  if  he  were  roused  too  rudely  from  his  long 
reverie,  he  died  of  the  shock. 

A  merrier  tale,  and  one  which  is  very  wise  and 
pretty  as  well,  is  current  in  many  literatures.    The 


Irish  version  runs  somewhat  in  this  fashion,  and 
the  Spanish  and  Breton  versions  are  extraordina- 
rily like  it.  A  little  hunchback  resting  at  night- 
fall in  an  enchanted  neighborhood,  heard  the 
fairies,  from  their  borderlands  near  by,  singing 
over  and  over  the  names  of  the  days  of  the  week. 
"And  Sunday,  and  Monday,  and  Tuesday!"  they 
chorus :  "  and  Sunday  and  Monday  and  Tuesday." 


The  boy  thinks  it  rather  hard  that  they  do  not 
know  enough  to  finish  their  musical  chant  with  the 
names  of  the  remaining  days ;  so,  when  they  pause 
a  little,  very  softly,  and  tunefully,  he  adds:  "And 
Wednesday  "  !  The  wee  folk  are  delighted,  and 
make  their  chant  longer  by  one  strophe  ;  and  they 
crowd  out  in  their  finery  from  the  mound,  bearing 
the  stranger  far  down  into  its  depths  where  there 
are  the  glorious  open  halls  of  Fairyland  :  kissing 
and  praising  their  friend,  and  bringing  him  'the 
daintiest  fruit  lips  ever  tasted ;  and  to  reward  him 
lastingly,  their  soft  little  hands  lift  the  cruel  hump 
from  his  back,  and  he  runs  dancing  home,  at  a 
year's  end,  to  acquaint  the  village  with  his  happy 
fortune.  Now  another  deformed  lad,  his  neigh- 
bor, is  racked  with  jealousy  at  the  sight  of  his 
former  friend  made  straight  and  fair ;  and  he 
rushes  to  the  fairy-mound,  and  sits,  scowling,  wait- 
ing to  hear  them  begin  the  magic  song.  Presently 
rise  the  silver  voices  :  "  And  Sunday,  and  Monday, 
and  Tuesday,  and  Wednesday,  and  Sunday  and 
Monday  and  Tuesday  and  Wednesday  "  :  whereat 
the  audience  breaks  in  rudely,  right  in  the  middle 

154  "brownies  and  bogles. 

of  a  cadence :  "■  And  Friday."  Then  the  gentle 
elves  were  wrathful,  and  swarmed  out  upon  him, 
snarling  and  striking  at  him  in  scorn ;  and  before 
he  escaped  them,  they  had  fastened  on  his  crooked 
back  beside  his  own,  the  very  hump  that  had  be- 
longed to  the  first  comer !  In  the  anecdote,  as  it 
is  given  in  Picardy,  the  justice-dealing  goblins 
are  described  as  very  small  and  comely,  clad  in 
violet-colored  velvet,  and  wearing  hats  laden  with 
peacock  plumes.  In  the  Japanese  rendering,  a 
wen  takes  the  place  of  the  hump. 

Fairyland  is  the  home  of  every  goblin,  bright 
or  fierce,  that  ever  we  heard  of;  the  home,  too,  of 
the  ogres  and  dragons,  and  enchanted  princesses, 
and  demons,  and  Jack-the-giant-killers  of  all  time. 
The  Brownies  belonged  there,  and  went  thither  in 
their  worldly  finery,  when  service  was  over ;  the 
gnomes  and  snarling  mine-sprites,  the  sweet  danc- 
ing elves,  the  fairies  who  stole  children,  or  romped 
under  the  river's  current,  or  plagued  honest  farm- 
ers, or  tiptoed  it  with  a  torch  down  a  lonesome 
road  —  every  one  there  had  his  country  and  his 


In  that  merry  company  were  many  who  have 
escaped  us,  and  who  sit  in  a  blossomy  corner  by 
themselves,  the  oddest  of  the  odd  :  like  the  Jap- 
anese Tengus,  who  have  little  wings  and  feathers, 
like  birds,  until  they  grew  up ;  mouths  very  sel- 
dom opened,  and  most  amazing  big  noses,  with 
which,  on  earth,  they  were  wont  to  fence,  to  white- 
wash, to  write  poetry,  and  to  ring  bells !  There, 
too,  were  the  dark-skinned  Indian  wonder-babies: 
Weeng,  whom  Mr.  Longfellow  celebrates  as  Ne- 
pahwin,  the  Indian  god  of  sleep,  with  his  numer- 
ous train  of  little  fairy  men  armed  with  clubs ; 
who  at  nightfall  sought  out  mortals,  and  with  in- 
numerable light  blows  upon  their  foreheads,  com- 
pelled them  to  slumber.  The  great  boaster,  lagoo, 
whom  Hiawatha  knew,  once  declared  that  he  had 
seen  King  Weeng  himself,  resting  against  a  tree, 
with  many  waving  and  music-making  wings  on  his 
back.  Indian,  likewise,  was  the  spirit  named  Ca- 
notidan,  who  dwelt  in  many  a  hollow  tree ;  and 
the  lively  fellow,  Taknakanx  Kan,  who  sported  "in 
the  nodding  flowers ;  who  flew  with  the  birds,  frisked 
with  the  squirrels,  and  skipped  jvith  the  grasshop- 



per ;  who  was  merry  with  the  gay  running  brooks, 
and  shouted  with  the  waterfall;  who  moved  with 
the  sailing  cloud,  and  came  forth  with  the  dawn." 
He  never  slept,  and  never  had  time  to  sleep,  being 


the  god  of  perpetual  motion.  Near  him,  perhaps, 
see-sawed  a  couple  of  long-eyed  Chinese  San  Sao, 
or  the  glossy-haired  Fees  of  Southern  France 
pelted  one  another  with  dew-drops.  There  also, 
the  African  Yumboes  had  their  magnificent  tents 
spread :    those   strange    little    thieving   Banshee- 


Brownies,  wrapped  in  white  cotton  pangs,  who 
leaned  back  in  their  seats  after  a  gorgeous  repast, 
and  beheld  an  army  of  hands  appear  and  carry  off 
the  golden  dishes !  There  abided,  as  the  vene- 
rated elder  of  the  rest,  the  long-bearded  Pygmies 
whom  Homer,  Aristotle  and  good  Herodotus  had 
not  scorned  to  celebrate,  whom  Sir  John  Mande- 
ville  avowed  to  be  "  right  fair  and  gentle,  after  their 
quantities,  both  the  men  artd  the  women.  .  .  . 
And  he  that  liveth  eight  year,  men  hold  him  right 
passing  old  .  .  .  and  of  the  men  of  our  stature 
have  they  as  great  scorn  and  wonder  as  we  would 
have  among  us  of  giants  !  " 

Of  these  and  thousands  more  marvellous  is 
Fairyland  full ;  full  of  things  startling  and  splen- 
did and  grewsome  and  visionary  : 

full  of  noises, 

Sounds  and  sweet  airs  that  give  delight,  and  hurt  not. 

Any  picture  of  it  is  tame,  any  worded  description 
dull  and  heavy,  to  you  who  discover  it  daily  at  first 
hand,  and  who  know  its  faces  and  voices,  which 
fade  too  quickly  from  the  brain.     All  fine  advent- 

15S  "brownies  and  bogles." 

ures  spring  thence :  all  loveliest  color,  odor  and 
companionship  are  in  that  stirring,  sparkling  world. 
Can  you  not  help  us  back  there  for  an  hour?  Who 
knows  the  path  ?  Who  can  draw  a  map,  and  set  up 
a  sign-post  ?  Who  can  bar  the  gate,  when  we  are 
safe  inside,  and  keep  us  forever  and  ever  in  our  for- 
saken "  dear  sweet  land  of  Once-upon-a-Time  "  ? 



THERE  was  once  a  very  childish  child  who  laid 
her  fairy-book  on  its  face  across  her  knee, 
and  sat  all  the  morning  watching  the  cups  of  the 
honeysuckle,  grieved  that  not  one  solitary  elf  was 
left  to  swing  on  its  sun-touched  edges,  and  laugh 
back  at  her,  with  unforgetful  eyes. 

We  are  sorry  for  her,  and  sorry  with  her.  The 
Little  People, "alas !  have  gone  away;  would  that 
they  might  return !  No  man  knows  why  nor  when 
they  left  us ;  nor  whither  they  turned  their  faces. 
The  exodus  was  made  softly  and  slowly,  till  the 
whole  bright  tribe  had  stolen  imperceptibly  into 
exile.  Mills,  steam-engines  and  prowling  disbe- 
lievers joined  to  banish  them;  their  poetic  and 
dreamy  drama  is  over,  their  magic  lamp  out,  and 
their  jocund   music  hushed   and  forbidden.      Or 


l6o  "  BROWNIES    AND    BOGLES." 

perhaps  they  of  themselves  went  lingeringly  and 
sorrowfully  afar,  because  the  world  had  grown  too 
rough  for  them. 

Geoffrey  Chaucer,  in   the  fourteenth  century, 
wrote  in  his  sweet,  tranquil  fashion : 

In  olde  dayes  of  the  Kyng  Arthour     .     .     . 

Al  was  this  lond  fulfilled  of  faerie 

I  speke  of  mony  hundrid  yeer  ago ; 
But  now  can  no  man  see  non  elves  mo : 

which  you  may  understand  as  an  announcement 
somewhat  ahead  of  time.  For  many,  many  "elves 
mo  "  were  on  record  after  the  good  poet's  lyre  was 
hushed,  and  "  thick  as  motes  in  the  sunbeam  "  cen- 
turies after  their  reported  flight.  There  have  been 
sound-headed  folk  in  every  age,  of  whom  Chaucer 
was  one,  who  jested  over  the  poor  fairies  and  their 
arts,  and  spoke  of  them  only  for  gentle  satire's  sake. 
But  though  Chaucer  was  sure  the  goblins  had  per- 
ished, his  neighbors  saw  manifold  lively  specimens 
of  the  race,  without  stirring  out  of  the  parish.  Up 
to  two  hundred  years  ago  prajers  were  said  in  the 
churches  against  bad  fairies ! 

Sir  Walter  Scott  related  that  the  last  Brownie 

THE    PASStNti    OF    TME    LITTLE    PEOPLE.         l6l 

was  the  Brownie  of  Bodsbeck,  who  lived  there  long, 
and  vanished,  as  is  the  wont  of  his  clan,  when 
the  mistress  of  the  house  laid  milk  and  a  piece  of 
money  in  his  haunts.  He  was  loath  to  go,  and 
moaned  all    night :    "  Farewell    to  Bonnie    Bods- 

"al  was  this  lond  fulfilled  of  faerie." 

beck !  "  till  his  departure  at  break  of  daj'.  A  girl 
from  Norfolk,  England,  questioned  by  Mr.  Thomas 
Keightley,  admitted  that  she  had  often  seen  the 
Prairies,  dressed  in  white,  coming  up  from  their 
little  cities  underground !  Mr.  John  Brand  saw  a 
man  who  said  he  had  seen  one  that  had  seen  fair- 

i62  "brownies  and  bogles." 

ies !  And  Mr.  Robert  Hunt,  author  of  the  Drolls 
and  Traditions  of  Old  Cor/nvall,  wrote  that  forty 
years  ago  every  rock  and  field  in  that  country  was 
peopled  with  them !  and  that  "  a  gentleman  well- 
known  in  the  literary  world  of  London  very  re- 
cently saw  in  Devonshire  a  troop  of  fairies !  It 
was  a  breezy  summer  afternoon,  and  these  beau- 
tiful little  creatures  were  floating  on  circling 
zephyrs  up  the  side  of  a  sunlit  hill,  fantastically 

'Where  oxlips  and  the  nodding  violet  grow.' 

So  here  are  three  trustworthy  gentlemen,  makers 
of  books  on  this  special  subject,  and  none  of  them 
very  long  dead,  to  offset  Master  Geoffrey  Chaucer, 
and  to  bring  the  "  loud  fulfilled  of  faerie  "  closer 
than  he  dreamed.  About  the  year  1865,  a  corre- 
spondent told  Mr.  Hunt  the  following  queer  little 
story : 

"  I  heard  last  week  of  three  fairies  having  been 
seen  in  Zennor  very  recently.  A  man  who  lived 
at  the  foot  of  Trendreen  Hill  in  the  valley  of  Tre- 
ridge,  I  think,  was  cutting  furze  on  the  hill.    Near 



the  middle  of  the  day  he  saw  one  of  the  small  peo- 
ple, not  more  than  a  foot  long,  stretched  at  full 
length  and  fast  asleep,  on  a  bank  of  heath,  sur- 
rounded by  high  brakes  of  furze.  The  man  took 
off  his  furze-cuff  and  slipped  the  little  man  into  it 


without  his  waking  up,  went  down  to  the  house,  and 
took  the  little  fellow  out  of  the  cuff  on  the  hearth- 
stone, when  he  awoke,  and  seemed  quite  pleased 
and  at  home,  beginning  to  play  with  the  c^iil- 
dren,  who  were  well  pleased  also  with  the  small 
body,  and  called  him  Bobby  Griglans.  The  old 
people  were  very  careful  not  to  let  Bob  out  of  the 

164  "brownies    and    150GLES.'' 

house,  nor  be  seen  by  the  neighbors,  as  he  had 
promised  to  show  the  man  where  crocks  of  gold 
were  buried  on  the  hill.  A  few  days  after  he  was 
brought,  all  the  neighbors  camfe  with  their  horses, 
according  to  custom,  to  bring  home  the  winter's 
reek  of  furze,  which  had  to  be  brought  down  the 
hill  in  trusses  on  the  backs  of  the  horses.  That  Bob 
might  be  safe  and  out  of  sight,  he  and  the  children 
were  shut  up  io  the  barn.  Whilst  the  furze-carriers 
were  in  to  dinner,  the  prisoners  contrived  to  get 
out  to  have  a  run  round  the  furze-reek,  when  they 
saw  a  little  man  and  woman  not  much  larger  than 
Bob,  searching  into  every  hole  and  corner  among 
the  trusses  that  were  dropped  round  the  unfin- 
ished reek.  The  little  woman  was  wringing  her 
hands  and  crying  '  O  my  dear  and  tender  Skilly- 
widden!  wherever  canst  thou  be  gone  to?  Shall 
I  ever  cast  eyes  on  thee  again  ? '  *  Go  'e  back  ! ' 
says  Bob  to  the  children  ;  *  my  father  and  mother 
are  come  here  too.'  He  then  cried  out :  '  Here  I 
am,  mammy !  '  By  the  time  the  words  were  out  of 
his  mouth,  the  little  man  and  woman,  with  their 
precious  Skillywidden,  were  nowhere  to  be  seen, 




and  there  has  been  no  sight  nor  sign  of  them 
since.  The  children  got  a  sound  thrashing  for 
letting  Skillywid- 
den  escape." 

Such  is  the  lat- 
est evidence  we 
can  find  of  the 
whereabouts  of 
our  goblins. 

We  may,  how- 
ever, consider 
ourselves  their 
contemporaries,  since  among  the  peasantry  of  many 
countries  over-seas,  the  belief  is  not  yet  extinct. 
But  it  is  pretty  clear  to  us,  modern  and  American 
as  we  are  (safer  in  so  thinking  than  anybody  was 
anywhere  before  !  )  that  the  "restless  people,"  as 
the  Scotch  called  them,  are  at  rest,  and  clean  quit 
of  this  world;  and  perhaps  satisfied,  at  last,  of  their 
chance  of  salvation,  alopg  with  fortunate  Chris- 

Such  a  great  system  as  this  of  fairy-lore,  propped 
on  such  show  of  earnestness,  grew  up,  not  of  a 

i66  "brownies  and  bogles." 

sudden  like  a  mushroom  after  a  July  rain,  but 
gradually  and  securely,  like  a  coral-reef.  And  the 
dream-building  was  not  nonsense  at  all,  but  a  way 
of  putting  what  was  evident  and  marvellous  into  a 
familiar  guise.  If  certain  strange  things,  which 
are  called  phenomena,  happened — things  like  the 
coming  of  pebbles  from  clouds,  music  from  sand, 
sparkling  light  from  decay,  or  disease  and  death 
from  the  mere  handling  of  a  velvety  leaf —  then  our 
forefathers,  instead  of  gazing  straight  into  the  eyes 
of  the  fact,  as  we  are  taught  to  do,  looked  askance, 
and  made  a  fantastic  rigmarole  concerning  the 
pebbles,  or  the  music,  and  passed  it  down  as  re- 
ligion and  law. 

The  simple-minded  citizens  of  old  referred  any 
trifling  occurrence,  pleasant  or  unpleasant,  to  the 
fairies.  The  demons  and  deities,  according  to 
their  notion  of  fitness,  governed  in  vaster  matters ; 
and  the  new,  potent  sprites  took  shape  in  the 
popular  brain  as  the  controllers  of  petty  affairs. 
If  a  shepherd  found  one  of  his  flock  sick,  it  had 
been  elf-shot;  if  a  girl's  wits  went  wool-gathering, 
it  was  a  sign  she  had  been  in  fairyland ;  if  a  coo- 

THE    PASSING   OF    THE    LITTLE    PEOPLE.        167 

ing  baby  turned  peevish  and  thin,  it  was  a  change- 
ling !  Wherever  you  now  see  a  mist,  a  cobweb,  a 
moving  shadow  on  the  grass  ;  wherever  you  hear 
a  cricket-chirp,  or  the  plash  of  a  waterfall,  or  the 
cry  of  the  bird  on  the  wing,  there  of  yore  were  the 
fairy-folk  in  their  beauty.  They  stood  in  the  mind 
to  represent  the  lesser  secrets  of  Nature,  to  ac- 
count for  some  wonder  heard  and  seen.  It  was 
many  a  century  before  nations  stopped  romancing 
about  the  brave  things  on  land  and  sea,  and  began 
to  speculate,  to  observe  more  keenly,  to  hunt  out 
reasons,  and  to  lift  the  haze  of  their  own  fancy 
from  heroic  facts  and  deeds. 

Think  a  moment  of  the  Danish  moon-man,  who 
breathed  pestilence,  and  the  moon-woman,  whose 
harp  was  so  charming.  Well,  the  moon-man  meant 
nothing  else  than  the  marsh,  slimy  and  danger- 
ous, which  yielded  a  malarial  odor ;  and  the  wee 
woman  with  her  harp  represented  the  musical 
night-wind,  which  played  over  the  marsh  rushes 
and  reeds.  Was  it  not  so,  too,  with  the  larger 
myths  of  Greece  ?  For  the  story  of  Proserpine, 
carried  away  by  the  god  of  the  under  world,  and  after 

1 68  "brownies  and  bogles." 

a  weary  while,  given  back  for  half-a-year  to  her  fond 
mother  Ceres,  tells  really  of  the  seed-corn  which 
is  cast  into  her  dark  soil,  and  long  hidden  ;  but  re- 
appears in  glory,  and  stays  overground  for  months, 
basking  in  the  sun.  And  so  on  with  many  a  fable, 
which  we  read,  unguessing  of  the  thought  and 
purpose  beneath.  Though  it  was  erring,  we  can 
hardly  thank  too  much  that  joyous  and  reverent 
old  paganism  which  fancied  it  saw  divinity  in  each 
move  of  Nature,  kept  a  natural  piety  towards  every- 
thing that  lived,  and  made  a  thousand  sweet  mem- 
oranda, to  remind  us  forever  of  the  wonder  and 
charm  of  our  earth.  All  mythology,  and  the 
part  the  fairies  play  in  it,  stands  for  what  is  true. 

"  Still 

Doth  the  old  instinct  bring  back  the  old  names  " : 

and  again  and  again,  when  we  cite  some  beautiful 
fiction  of  Merman  and  Kobold,  of  White  Dwarf  or 
Pooka,  we  but  repeat,  whether  aware  of  it  or  not, 
how  the  dews  come  down  at  morning,  or  the 
storm-wind  breaks  the  strong  trees,  or  how  a  comet, 
trailing  light,  bursts  headlong  across  the  wide  sky. 
To  comprehend  fairy-stories,  to  get  under  the 

THE    PASSING   OF   THE    LITTLE    PEOPLE.        1 69 

surface  of  them,  we  would  have  to  go  over  them 
all  at  great  length,  and  with  exhaustless  patience. 
And  as  in  digging  for  the  tendrils  of  a  delicate, 
berry-laden  vine,  we  have  to  search,  sometimes, 
deep  and  wide  into  the  woodland  loam,  among 
gnarly  roots  of  shrubs  and  giant  pines,  so  in  trac- 
ing the  scources  of  the  simplest  tale  which  makes 
us  glad  or  sad,  we  fall  across  a  network  of  ponder- 
ous ancient  lore;  of  custom,  prejudice,  and  lost 
day-dreams,  from  which  this  vine,  also,  is  hard  to 
be  severed. 

The  spirit  of  these  neat  little  goblin-chronicles 
was  right  and  sincere ;  but  the  matter  of  them 
was  often  sadly  astray.  Of  course,  sometimes, 
useless,  misleading  details  gathered  tD  obscure 
the  first  idea,  and  to  overrun  it  with  a  tangle 
of  error;  and  not  only  were  fine  stories  spoiled, 
but  many  were  started  which  were  funny,  or  silly, 
or  grim  merely,  without  serving  any  use  beyond 

But  so  powerful  is  Truth,  when  there  was  actu- 
ally a  grain  of  it  at  the  centre,  that  even  those 
versions  which  were  exaggerated   and  distorted, 

170  "brownies  and  bogles. 

played  into  the  hands  of  what  we  call  Folk-lore, 
and  laid  their  golden  key  at  the  feet  of  Science. 
You  will  discover  that,  besides  pointing  out  the 
workings  of  the  natural  world,  the  fairy-tales  rested 
often  on  the  workings  of  our  own  minds  and  con- 
sciences. The  Brownie  was  a  little  schoolmaster 
set  up  to  teach  love  of  order,  and  the  need  of 
perfect  courtesy ;  the  Nix  betokened  anything 
sweet  and  beguiling,  which  yet  was  hurtful,  and 
to  which  it  was,  and  is,  a  gallant  heart's  duty  not 
to  yield.  And  thus,  from  beginning  to  end,  the 
elves  at  whom  we  laugh,  help  us  toward  larger 
knowledge,  and  a  more  chivalrous  code  of  behav- 
ior. How  shall  we  say,  then,  that  there  never  was 
a  fairy  ? 

A  miner,  hearing  the  drip  of  subterranean  water, 
took  it  to  be  a  Duergar  or  a  Bucca,  swinging  his 
tiny  hammer  over  the  shining  ore.  His  notion  of 
the  Bucca,  askew  as  it  was,  was  one  at  bottom 
with  our  knowledge  of  the,  dark  brookletj  You, 
the  young  heirs  of  mighty  Science,  can  often  out- 
strip the  slow-gathered  wisdom  of  dead  philoso- 
phers.    But  do  not  despise  that  fine  old  imagina- 


THE   PASSING    OF    THE    LITTLE   PEOPLE.        1 73 

tion,  which  felt  its  way  almost  to  the  light.  A 
sixteenth-century  boy,  who  was  all  excitement 
once  over  the  pranks  of  Robin  Goodfellow,  knew 
many  precious  things  which  our  very  great  nine- 
teenth-century acuteness  has  made  us  lose  ! 

Good-bye,  then,  to  the  army  of  vanishing  "gen- 
try," and  to  their  steadfast  friends,  and  to  you,  chil- 
dren dear !  who  are  the  guardians  of  their  wild 
unwritten  records.  Shall  you  not  miss  them  when 
next  the  moon  is  high  on  the  blossomy  hillocks, 
and  the  thistledown,  ready-saddled,  plunges  to  be 
off  and  away  ?  Merry  fellows  they  were,  and 
shrewd  and  just ;  and  we  were  very  fond  of  them ; 
and  now  they  are  gone.  And  their  going,  like  a 
mounting  harmony,  note  by  note,  which  ends  in 
one  noble  chord,  with  a  hush  after  it,  leads  us  to 
a  serious  parting  word.  Keep  the  fairies  in  kindly 
memory ;  do  not  lose  your  interest  in  them.  They 
and  their  history  have  an  enchanting  value,  which 
need  never  be  outgrown  nor  set  aside  ;  and  to  the 
gravest  mind  they  bring  much  which  is  beautiful, 
humane  and  suggestive. 

We  have  found  that  believers  in  the  Little  Peo- 

174  "brownies  and  bogles. 

pie  were  not  so  wrong,  after  all;  and  that  the  eye 
claiming  to  have  seen  a  fairy  saw,  verily,  a  sight 
quite  as  astonishing.  Let  us  think  as  gently  of 
other  myths  to  which  men  have  given  zeal,  awe  and 
admiration,  of  every  faith  hereafter  which  seems 
to  us  odd  and  mistaken.  For  many  things  which 
are  not  true  in  the  exact  sense,  are  yet  dear  to 
Truth ;  and  follow  her  as  a  baby's  tripping  tongue 
lisps  the  language  of  its  mother,  not  very  suc- 
cessfully, but  still  with  loyalty,  and  with  a  mean- 
ing which  attentive  ears  can  always  catch. 

Surely,  our  ancestors  loved  the  "  span-long  elves  " 
who  wrought  them  no  great  harm,  and  who  gave 
them  help  and  cheer.  We  will  praise  them,  too. 
Who  knows  but  some  little  goblin's  thorny  finger 
directed  many  an  innocent  human  heart  to  march, 
albeit  waveringly,  towards  the  ample  light  of  God  ?